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Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Copyright © Orrin Schwab, 2004. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be 
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1914 to the Present 

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Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Orrin Schwab 


To the memory of David Schwab (1921-2002) 

"Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are 
upon us" 

- John Winthrop 


Redeemer Nation was conceived and written over a period of ten years. It represents 
the crystallization of my research and thought on modern American foreign relations and 
its relationship to the larger narrative of world history. Since the history of the United 
States constitutes all of modern times from the sixteenth century onward, the scope of 
this study encompasses far more than contemporary international historians typically 
ascribe to their subject area. In my mind, this book represents a comprehensive and 
coherent interpretation of both national and international history. I accept responsibility 
for explaining both, and will not apologize for covering too much ground in too little 

The subject and the governing idea are certainly familiar. America, over four 
centuries, has conceived its national mission in terms of its cultural origins in Protestant 
British culture. For that reason, I have given it the name "redeemer nation." Redemption, 
however, has always been a complicated matter that is directly related to who defines its 
meaning. To achieve salvation, the American nation-state has evolved with modern 
times, building a technocratic state and civilization dedicated to its own global 

The reader may wonder at my adoption of terms such as "technocratic," "scripts," 
and "epistemologies." The first two chapters discuss these ideas in detail, building, 
hopefully, a coherent understanding of my analytical framework. I suggest that there are 
different components of historical agency that synthesize together according to the 
redemptive script for American society. The multilevel historical view of this synthesis 
represents my core argument in this work. 

Ultimately, the reader shall determine what I add to the historical literature and to 
theory. Having trained as both a social scientist and as a historian, I have used an 
approach that attempts to bridge two disparate professional disciplines. I believe both 
types of professional observers can contribute insight and value to the understanding of 
history and the human condition. 

The following glossary helps clarify the narrative: 

Scripts: patterns of behavior followed by individuals or groups. Scripts are found 
throughout history. 

Life scripts: scripts followed by individuals. 

Institutional scripts: scripts followed by institutions. 

National scripts: scripts followed by nation-states. 

Metascripts: scripts found at the level of nation-states or civilizations that can span 
centuries or even millennia. 

Western metascript: the script guiding the path of Western civilization as a global 
phenomenon in modern history. 

Epistemologies: systems of knowledge specific to a particular subject or field of 

Technocratic: technical knowledge, institutions, culture, scripts, or consciousness. 

Technocratic epistemologies: systems of knowledge involving technocratic thought or 

Liberal technocratic order: the global institutional and ideological order defined by the 
culture of modern liberalism, capitalism, and scientific knowledge. 

Technocratic internationalism: the ideology that supports the liberal technocratic order as 
a global political, cultural, institutional, and economic system. 


Introduction 13 

Narrative and Structure: The View from Space 13 

Chapter I The Scripting of American Internationalism 33 

A Comparative View of Collective Scripts 37 

Scripts: Dramaturgy and Human History 42 

Epistemologies: Knowledge Systems 46 

Capitalism 49 

Institutions: Organizational Systems 53 

Public and Private Systems 54 

The Market and the Corporate "Machine" 56 

The State "Machine": The "Military-Industrial Complex" or the "National Security 

State" 64 

The Scripts and Metascripts 68 

The Technocratic Script 73 

America the Redeemer 76 

Conclusion 81 

Chapter II The Great War 83 

Scripted Dimensions 83 

The European Script: Nationalism and Technocracy 92 

Nationalism and Imperialism 97 

Wilsonianism: The American Script 105 

Strategy: Coalition Warfare 109 

Technocratic Institutions 115 

American Internationalism: Technocratic Principles 117 

The Russian Script 121 

The Failure of the Liberal Script 125 

Chapter III The Interwar System: 1919-1939 129 

The Script Turns: Divergent Paths 129 

Postwar Wilsonianism 133 

Interwar Isolationism and Corporate Internationalism 144 

The Great Depression 147 

American Scripts 148 

The Isolationist Script 151 

Institutional Scripts 154 

Intellectual Scripts 155 

Isolationism vs. Internationalism: The American Epistemology for Global Affairs 


The Technocratic Path: Nazi Germany 161 

Lebensraum and Race: Nazi Ideology 163 

Soviet Union: Stalinism and the International System 165 

Japanese Imperialism: The East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere 168 

Munich: The Appeasement Script 170 

The Failures of the Liberal Metascript 171 

Chapter IV Defending the Free World: The Technocratic War 175 

The Technocratic War 176 

The Metascript: The "Struggle for Power and Peace" 183 

National Security State 190 

War Production 193 

War Epistemologies 194 

The Manhattan Project 197 

Postwar Planning 199 

The Technocratic War Ends 200 

Chapter V The Orthodox Cold War 205 

The Cold War's Metascript 205 

Briefly: The Origins 215 

Cold War Epistemology 221 

The Beginning of the Orthodox Phase: The Children of Light 225 

Orthodox Ideologies: Modes of Understanding 228 

Technocratic Knowledge 234 

Orthodox Containment 240 

The Marshall Plan 242 

Strategic Orthodoxy 244 

Technocratic Science 247 

Crises in the Orthodox Period 248 

The East Asian Crises: Korea 249 

Soviet and Chinese Scripts 251 

The Korean Script 252 


Indochina 254 

China 256 

European Crises: Berlin 259 

The Middle East 260 

Toward the New Frontier: Cuba, Laos, and Berlin 1960 261 

Chapter VI The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 265 

The Rise of the Counterscript 265 

The Missile Crisis 269 

The Aftermath 272 

Vietnam 273 

The Intervention 274 

Tet and Cambodia: The Denouement 279 

Nixon 279 

Post-Vietnam 283 

The Carter Presidency 285 

The New Script: Technocratic Development in the Revisionist Cold War 287 

The New Culture 291 

Toward the Reagan Revolution 295 

Antecedents: American Decline 296 

Reagan the Redeemer 298 

Chapter VII The Late Cold War: Communism's Collapse 303 

Regional Dimensions 309 

Aspects of the Global Script: Political Economy 310 

Epistemologies 311 

Chronology 314 

SDI: Strategic Defense Initiative 317 

Conclusion: Human Freedom and the Technocratic Script 319 

Chapter VIII The Post-Cold War World: Toward the End of the Script? 323 

The Post-Cold War World 323 

The Liberal Design: Markets 328 

The Impact of September 11 330 

Contradictions in the Liberal Script 332 

The Technocratic Machine 339 

A New Technocratic Order: Toward a Cybernetic Civilization 340 

The End of the Script? 343 

Index 347 

Narrative and Structure: The View from Space 

The best world atlases show the earth starkly, as it really is and has been for millions 
of years. In detailed satellite images of the planet's surface, the physical reality of 
geology is apparent. Oceans and continents are shown from digital photos taken 
thousands of miles into space. The world viewed by human eyes from just a short 
distance, less than a tenth the distance to the moon, consists of colors and shapes. From 
the vantage of geosynchronous orbit, the oceans are deep blue and impenetrable. The 
continents are rough and silent. Their respective landmasses are mixtures of colors that 
reveal certain basic characteristics of climatology. The colors show the presence and 
intensity of vegetation, ice, and water. The Sahara and almost the entire northern half of 
Africa, as well as all of southwestern Asia, are different hues of brown. Equatorial Africa, 
Europe, and most of the Americas are green. The richest greens are in the Amazon and 
the rain forests of the Congo. The polar ice capes are absolutely enormous, stretching for 
thousands of miles. One can only wonder at the possibility of their expansion, or, more 
likely, their disappearance. ' 

What is most interesting to the historian is what the images do not show. Just a short 
ride into outer space and the artifacts of human existence are hidden. A completely naive 
observer, looking at those images, would never guess that civilizations ever existed. 
There is no New York, Tokyo, Beijing, London, Paris, or Buenos Aires. The United 
States, its political map so familiar, does not exist. Nor do any other political boundaries, 
or evidence of human impact of any kind. From the vantage point of space, there was no 
Renaissance or Middle Ages in Europe. The river valley civilizations never happened. 
The pyramids do not exist. The Great Wall of China, the city of Jerusalem, the Vatican, 
the palaces of European royalty, the libraries of all the great world universities — all are 
now gone. Thousands of years of history, and the present material culture of computers. 

The 21st Century World Atlas (Naples, FL: Trident International Press, 1998). 

Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

cell phones, lasers, nuclear physics, and biotechnology — all have disappeared from the 
face of the planet. Despite what may be the unique and extraordinary accomplishments of 
advanced technological civilization, the species is invisible. It would seem that no matter 
what humans will do, the continents and the oceans will remain. When the human species 
leaves the earth, larger geological structures of the physical world will be as they were.^ 

The satellite photos suggest fundamental truths about the nature of human 
civilizations. Indeed, they are truths that historians and social scientists grapple with 
continuously but sometimes forget. First, and above all, what constitutes society and 
culture is what we imagine. From space, the observed physical reality is that nation-states 
do not exist. Nor do the thousands of languages, religions, stories, myths, visual and 
cinematic art, music, scientific artifacts, and whatever else constitutes our collective 
reality as a species. All of what we are is quite transient. Every aspect of human culture 
and history must be specific to time and place. Virtually all that we are as historical 
beings exists within our individual and collective consciousness, "the semiotic web," as 
described by Clifford Geertz.' Perhaps the future will be different, dominated by new 
generations of machine intelligence, but looking at the human past, indeed only a small 
fraction of that past recorded history, all that has been civilization has been ephemeral. 
The Greek city-state, medieval Florence, the Song dynasty of a thousand years ago, 
eighteenth-century Europe, the American "frontier" — all have become images, 
reconstructions of what they were. All civilizations become transparent. They are buried 
underneath the foundations of new human cultures, often erased from public memory and 
history. Nonetheless, the transparent and ephemeral nature of human existence survives. 
Each generation inherits the knowledge and mentalities that are imparted from its culture. 
Each one inherits the cognitive and emotional attachments of its collective history. All of 
this constitutes a societal script, woven intricately into the hugely complex system of 
global human community. "* In trying to interpret world or national history, or the history 

Recent scientific thought suggests the uniqueness of human life, as well as its accidental and 
ephemeral nature. See Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownie, Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is 
Uncommon in the Universe (New York: Copernicus, 2000); Stephen Jay Gould, Ever Since 
Darwin: Reflections in Natural History (New York: Norton, 1992); Edward O. Wilson, Consilience: 
The Unity of Knowledge (New York: Knopf 1998). 

^Sherry B. Ortner, ed.. The Fate of Culture: Geertz and Beyond (Berkeley: University of 
California Press, 1999); Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books, 
1973), 7, and Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology (New York: Basic 
Books, 1983). 

Victor Turner, Dramas, Fields and Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society (Ithaca, 
NY: Cornell University Press, 1974); Victor Turner and Edward Bruner, eds.. The Anthropology 
of Experience (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986). Historians have created the field of 
public history, which explores culture as by definition the historical "memory " of a society. See 
Pierre Nora, Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French Past, 3 vols. (New York: Columbia 
University Press, 1996-1998); John Bodnar, Remaking America: Public Memory, 
Commemoration and Patriotism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992); John R. Gillis, 



of any community, we recover what was always invisible from space. We use the 
idiosyncratic methods of historical investigation, and we discover narrative and structure. 
How does the narrative relate to the structures that define it? These structures or factors 
are physical, intellectual, and historical. How then does the recovered narrative effect the 
integration of its actors with the other essential accoutrements of the drama? In other 
words, why does anything happen the way it does? This is a presumptive question that all 
historians must answer either directly or implicitly. For historians of political, military, 
and international history, who deal with untestable patterns of action, most often at 
different levels of analysis, the answers have almost always been by definition 

One may only sample some of the questions that historians and their students 
contemplate, both in the classroom and at reading desks situated in archival centers all 
over the world. In early American history, for example, what indeed led to the American 
Revolution, and why, given all the difficulties, did it succeed? Why did the Confederacy 
lose in its bid for independence? And why, in the twentieth century, was Hitler possible? 
Further, why were Lenin and Stalin possible as radical heirs to the Romanovs? In the 
military history of the Second World War, why did Hitler fail to defeat Great Britain in 
1940, and Stalin fail to prepare for Hitler's invasion in 1941? Why too was the United 
States a victim at Pearl Harbor? Why did Western Europe not turn communist in the 
direct aftermath of the Second World War, and why or how did the Marshall Plan 
succeed? How was it possible for Japan to rebuild itself, and why, given its history, did 
the Japanese remain part of the West?' 

ed., Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University 
Press, 1994). 

Historiography, the philosophy of history, and historicism are topics of consuming interest for 
all who write history. Of course, in the post-positivist present, there can never be an objective 
understanding of the past. See Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The "Objectivity Question" and 
the American Historical Association (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988); see draft 
papers from Rice University symposium on the philosophy of history: John H. Zammito, 
"Historicism, Metahistory, and Historical Practice: 'The Historicization of the Historical 
Subject,'" History and the Limits of Interpretation: A Symposium, www.ruf.rice. edul-culture 
/papers/ Zammito.html, and Jom Rilsen, "Narrativity and Objectivity in Historical Studies, " 
www. ruf rice . edu/~culture/papers/Rusen. html. 

Counterfactual history is now both a literary and an academic field with Web sites and 
discussion groups. Discussion of the subject and its value or lack thereof has been a point of 
contention in English-language historical literature from the beginning of the twentieth century. 
See J. C. Squire, ed.. If It Had Happened Otherwise: Lapses into Imaginary History (London: 
Longmans, Green, 1931); F. J. C. Hearnshaw, The "Ifs" of History (London: George Newnes, 
1929). For modern speculations, see Niall Ferguson, Virtual History: Alternatives and 
Counterfactuals (Picador, 1996); Kenneth Macksey, Hitler Options: Alternate Decisions of World 
War II (Mechanicsburg, PA: Greenhill/Stackpole, 1995); and especially the recent collection, 
Robert Cowley, ed.. What If? The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have 
Been (New York: G. Putnam's Sons, 1999). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

The intention of most narrative historians has been to eschew most theories of 
historical process. Factors, components of a complex explanation, are given emphasis as 
causes in history. Yet, the causes describe only general theories of why events happen. 
The essence of causality in history implies indeterminacy. In a descriptive historical 
narrative, the agency of individuals and particular conditions or circumstances become 
reasons for historical events. Therefore, George Washington's leadership was 
instrumental in the creation of the American republic. His particular actions, both military 
and political, were critical to the survival of the country. A political historian of the 
American Revolution and early republic may be satisfied with that explanation. He may 
integrate the actions of George Washington into the context of a society determined to 
change. It was, then, not only the actions of George Washington, but also the work of his 
entire generation of leaders that allowed for the genesis of the United States. Yet, in this 
explanation, there remains no overarching view of American society as a product of the 
longer process of the Enlightenment, or of the agency of George Washington as part of a 
scripted process of social change. To the narrative historian focused on the biographical, 
Washington's agency is genuine. The great leader's path was unclear and uncertain as he 
fought his way through the battles of the American Revolutionary War. It remained 
clouded all the way to the presidency of the republic. In this narrative view, still common 
among political historians, the structure of American history remains opaque.^ 

Historians who reject broad social scientific explanations may view much of what 
happens in human history as having been accidental. It was an accident, a chance of 
circumstances, that Washington's army survived the winter of 1776-1777, even if we 
consider the great leader's determination. It was entirely the interplay of personalities and 
various historical "factors" that led to the outcome at Yorktown in 1781. From the 
perspective of many traditional narrative historians, popular theories of collective action 
used by social scientists oversimplify their subjects. The complexity of human beings and 
human civilization militates against "scientific" or analytical models for history. As a 
general rule, all narrative historians, whether tending toward analytical or descriptive 
history writing, view their discipline as multicausal, nonlinear, and essentially 

^Burke Davis, George Washington and the American Revolution (New York: Random House, 
1975); Paul K. Longmore, The Invention of George Washington (Berkeley: University of 
California Press, 1988), 184-211; Forrest McDonald, "Today's Indispensable Man" in Gary L. 
Gregor and Matthew Spalding, eds.. Patriot Sage: George Washington and the American Political 
Tradition (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 1999), 24-37; William Sterne Randall, George Washington: 
A Life (New York: Henry Holt, 1997), 398-99; James Thomas Flexner, George Washington in the 
American Revolution (1775-1783) (Boston: Little, Brown, 1967), 531-52. Assessing Washington's 
extraordinary career, Flexner wrote: 

...he accepted his preeminence as naturally as a man accepts his right hand. He did not even 
seem conscious of how powerful he was, how grievously he out dazzled those around him. All the 
more because it was so effortless, this dominance made enemies of men who considered themselves 
as good as he was, or better — or who disapproved of his opinions. And some historians, more used 
to contemporary patterns, have assumed that because he did not struggle for office Washington 
was a clod-like puppet lifted by brute chance, (p. 551) 



nonquantifiable, even in the age of technocratic social scientific methods. This does not 
make narrative "unscientific."* 

For physical scientists and mathematicians, randomness as cause makes perfect 
sense. In natural history, the randomness of evolution has long been accepted. To 
evolutionary biologists, the chance introduction of Homo sapiens onto the evolutionary 
map of hominids, a simple random variation in phylogeny some several hundred 
thousand years ago, is the best scientific explanation. For physicists, the indeterminate 
nature of quantum fluctuations remains essential. Yet, randomness in science is also 
related to theories of macro-scale and micro-scale change. Quantum fluctuations are part 
of a theory of how matter is organized in the universe. The fact that a proton's behavior 
must be random does not mean that the universe as a physical system does not obey laws 
of order as well as chaos. Similarly, the changes that biologists see in populations and 
ecosystems are random on one level, but in the longer systemic view they fit into models 
for population growth and evolutionary change.' In contrast, narrative historians, 
however committed to the chance nature of historical events, usually do not have a 
general theory of why anything happens or should happen. Washington founded the 
republic, but there was nothing that ordained his success or translated it into a grand 
theory of historical change. To understand the past as ordered or predictable, so the 
argument goes, suggests an ahistorical view of human events." 

Alan Megill explicitly rejects the idea that history is causal at all. The "explanatory bias, " as 
he terms it, reflects the effect of Newtonian physics on historical practice. History, then, should 
avoid cause and effect summations and remain a purely narrative discipline. See Alan Megill, 
"Recounting the Past: 'Description, ' Explanation, and Narrative in Historiography, " American 
Historical Review 94, no. 3 (June 1989): 627-53. The international historian remains keen on the 
appreciation of randomness versus structure. Bruce Cumings analogized the complexities of 
snowflalce research with the historian 's craft: 

Snowflaice research has yielded mathematical models that seek to bring together and analyze 
forces that create and give predictability to the six-legged structure, and also that destabilize it — 
"large-scale processes and microscopic processes" spite of the advance of science, the "large 
scale processes" remain unknown, or at least unpredictable... each political event is both 
structured and random; each is both regular and unpredictable; each sums up the history it has 
experienced and goes beyond it; each is subject to unpredictable interventions called choices; each 
comes from a particular field, and each event, piled on another, also creates a political field; each 
can be dissected and understood, but only in retrospect. (Bruce Cumings, The Origins of the 
Korean War, vol.2, The Roaring of the Cataract, 1947-1950 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University 
Press, 1990), 4. 

Murray Gell-Mann, The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and the Complex 
(New York: W. H. Freeman, 1995); Stuart Kauffman, The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and 
Selection in Evolution (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993). 

Megill, Recounting the Past, 632; Cumings, The Origins of the Korean War, vol. 1, Liberation 
and the Emergence of Separate Regimes, 1945-1947. (New York: Columbia, 1981), 3-12; Louis O. 
Mink, "The Autonomy of Historical Understanding," in Brian Fay, Eugene O. Golob, and Richard 
T. Vann, eds., Louis O. Mink: Historical Understanding (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 
1987), 61-88. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Narrating the past without structure, however, lends itself inevitably to the same 
ahistoricity. Without structure, or a theory of why things happen, past events have no 
genuine meaning. I submit that there is nothing of any value in knowing George 
Washington's intent and behaviors while president without a general concept or theory of 
his place in history. What structures within American and international history bear upon 
George Washington as a historical figure? If George Washington was like all other 
human beings in his time and in ours, he was following a life script, a program for his 
behavior passed down to him by his family, his culture, and the political dynamics of his 
role. Further, that role was synchronized and orchestrated by the forces within society 
that make George Washingtons as well as Woodrow Wilsons and Franklin Roosevelts, 
and, for that matter, Adolf Hitlers and Joseph Stalins. 

The debate, then, as we view the world from twenty thousand miles in space, remains 
one between randomness and structure. Random conditions or events, to some degree, 
explain the Russian Revolution as not only subject to the "causes" of revolutionary times, 
but to the happenstance of a chain of events that led to just the right conditions for Lenin 
to assume power. Perhaps if one of those conditions, such as Lenin's safe arrival in 
Russia in 1916, had not occurred, then the communist takeover and the resulting Soviet 
state would never have materialized." Similarly, the Nazi revolution of 1933 was not 
predestined by the structural realities of German history in the 1920s and early 1930s. 
Perhaps if the Nazi party had gone bankrupt, as it almost did at the end of 1932, Hitler 
would not have been made chancellor in 1933. Further, if someone who died in the 
trenches of the First World War had not died. Hitler might have been eclipsed by another 
figure with similar but yet different designs for German resurgence.'' 

Counterfactual history is inexplicable and not taken seriously by professional 
historians other than as an exercise for understanding cause and effect. However, 
possibilities for alternative chronologies militate against the idea of a teleological view of 
historical process. That the flapping of the wings of a butterfly, according to the most 
famous example of complexity theory, can "cause" a hurricane, supports the argument for 
the random and almost atheoretical nature of historical cause and effect. In this view of 
history, the structures identified by analytical historians as causing an event or process do 
not and cannot explain human history in its entirety. Structural explanations of history 
that posit such things as political ideology, other mentalities, events, and economic. 

Lenin's "indomitable will," ruthlessness, and political genius made him the quintessential 
agent for the Bolshevik Revolution. See Michael Kort, The Soviet Colossus: History and Aftermath 
(Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2001), 58—70; Helene Carrere d'Encausse, Lenin (New York: Holmes 
& Meier, 2001), 201-29; John Reed, Ten Days That Shook the World (1922; reprint, 
Harmondsworth, Middlesex, UK: Penguin Books, 1977). 

"lan Kershaw, Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris (New York: Norton, 1998) and Hitler, 1936-45: 
Nemesis (New York: Norton, 2000); William Carr, Hitler: A Study in Personality and Politics 
(London: Edward Arnold, 1978); Fritz Redlich, Hitler: Diagnosis of a Destructive Prophet (New 
York: Oxford University Press, 1998); George Victor, Hitler: The Pathology of Evil (Washington, 
DC: Brassey's, 1998); Ron Rosenbaum, Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil 
(New York: Random House, 1998). 



strategic, or political interests can only point to or suggest a framework for understanding 
the past. '^ 

Analytical approaches to the past that emphasize the structures or conditions that 
inform historical events are naturally hostile to short-term atheoretical interpretations. In 
the view of some world historians, processes exist over centuries and traverse regional 
cultures. The classical historians and philosophers of history of the modern period, 
among them Kant, Hegel, Marx, Weber, Spengler, and Toynbee, viewed history as 
following teleological paths. They defined history as following a course, a structure 
determined alternatively by nature, God, technology, culture, biology, or historical laws. 
Human history, as understood by these thinkers, was structured. In Kant and Hegel, the 
future lay in the revelation of a natural order; in Marx, Weber, Spengler, and Toynbee, 
civilizations followed certain paths, destinies that were defined by economic laws, social 
development, and human cultures. '"* 

In more recent historiography, world history has developed more modern analytical 
paradigms. Global change, according to the famous French Annates school of Bloch, 
Lefebrve, and Braudel, established commerce and capitalism as essential structures in 
modern world history. The successors to these thinkers, the world systems theorists of the 
late twentieth century — Wallerstein and Frank, among others — extended the notion of 
world commerce to the economic structures of global capitalism acting upon nation- 
states. The modern world systems theories understand historical continuity over 
centuries, if not millennia. Long-range projections for human history, such as the one 
proposed by the modern world systems school, view the dynamics of capitalism as a 
global system determining most of what has happened over the last several thousand 
years. In modern history, this view interprets the concept of the nation-state as a 
production system dedicated to the expansion of the cosmopolitan core. In twentieth- 
century history, the global "imperium" was led by elite groups, primarily agents of the 
upper class in the United States and elsewhere in the core, whose powers emanated from 
effective control of the state. Alternatively, in the view of non-Marxist world historians. 

' Complexity theorists tend to endorse the idea of narrative indeterminacy: 

Unstable or aperiodic systems are unable to resist small disturbances and will display complex 
behavior, making prediction impossible and measurements will appear random. Human history is 
an excellent example of aperiodic behavior. Civilization may appear to rise and fall, but things 
never happen in the same way. Small events or single personalities may change the world around 
them. (Judy Petree, "Chaos without the Math, " part 3: "Strange Attractor in Chaos Theory, " 

^Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Philosophy of History (New York: Dover, 1956); Frederick 
C. Beiser, ed.. The Cambridge Companion to Hegel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 
1993); Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991); 
Arnold Toynbee, Mankind and Mother Earth: A Narrative History of the World (New York: Oxford 
University Press, 1976). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

the role of ecology and technological expansion explain the long-term progression of 
civilizations. In these explanations, structure is everything.'^ 

In twentieth-century history, especially international history, the dichotomy remains 
between postmodernist and realist interpretations of the contemporary age. Randomness 
versus structure — the relative value of facts and events over paradigmatic assumptions 
and explanations — remains an element of rivalry and dispute. In the scientific global 
history approaches pioneered by McNeill, Crosby, and Diamond, geographical and 
ecological factors structure the path of historical change. Instead of viewing the world 
capitalist system as the independent variable, these global historians have suggested other 
macro historical factors. The development of regional and world cultures is related to the 
geography of continents; the transfer of viruses, plants, and other flora and fauna in cross- 
cultural exchanges; and the technological changes that establish the supremacy of one 
culture over others. This argument suggests that European domination of world 
civilization from the nineteenth century onward was a result of particular structural 
factors related to the ecology and geography of Europe vis-a-vis surrounding regions.'^ 

Structural explanations of twentieth-century internationalism are prominent in the 
field I was trained in: the diplomatic history of the Cold War. The corpus of American 
scholarship on the Cold War includes carefully written and documented narratives that 
expound upon the dynamics of the Washington foreign policy establishment. In this 
literature, several schools or approaches have been developed that explore the overall 
nature of American internationalism and its structural characteristics with respect to the 
international system. Among these ideological views are corporatism and realism." 

^Fernand Braudel, Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century (Berkeley: University of 
California Press, 1992); Lucien Febvre, A Geographical Introduction to History (New York: Knopf, 
1925); Lucien Febvre, A New Kind of History: From the Writings of Febvre, ed. Peter Burke 
(London: Routlege, 1973); Andre Gunder Frank, Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin 
America: Historical Studies of Chile and Brazil (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1967); Andre 
Gunder Frank, ReOrient: Global Economy in the Asian Age (Berkeley: University of California 
Press, 1998); Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World-System: Capitalist Agriculture and the 
Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century (New York: Academic Press, 
1974); Immanuel Wallerstein, Historical Capitalism with Capitalist Civilization (London: Verso, 
1995); Cumings, The Roaring of the Cataract. 

""William H. McNeill, The Age of Gunpowder Empires, 1450-1800 (Washington, DC: 
American Historical Association, 1989); William H. McNeill, The Global Condition: Conquerors, 
Catastrophes, and Community (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992); William H. 
McNeill, Plagues and Peoples (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press, 1976); Alfred W. Crosby, The 
Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 (Westport, CT: Greenwood 
Press, 1972); Alfred W. Crosby, Germs, Seeds and Animals: Studies in Ecological History 
(Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1994); Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human 
Societies (New York: Norton, 1997); Sheldon Watts, Epidemics and History: Disease, Power and 
Imperialism (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997). 

'^ For realism, see especially John Gaddis, The United States and the End of the Cold War: 
Implications, Reconsiderations, Provocations (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). For 
corporatism, see Bruce Cumings, "Revising Post Revisionism, or, The Poverty of Theory in U.S. 



The corporatist view of American internationalism sees the state as a coherent entity, 
interrelated with private-sector interests. In the view of later corporatist historians, 
Michael Hogan and others, the American state shaped foreign policy according to the 
managerial necessities of Cold War capitalism. The Marshall Plan, underwritten by a 
congressional majority that was leading itself away from an expansive Rooseveltian 
internationalism, was a necessary political economy program to shape postwar Europe in 
the image of the United States. However, in light of the structures of political and 
economic interests that influenced the planning, it was Europe that made its postwar self 
in its own image. Nonetheless, Hogan argued that the Marshall Plan was a critical 
component for the formation of the national security state, which had developed into a 
coherent entity by the early 1950s.'* Dedicated to the preservation of global capitalism 
and the deterrence of international communism, the institutional system of the Cold War 
anchored the free world through strategic containment and a managed international 
political economy. 

Structural interpretations of the Cold War are legion. The institutional history of the 
Cold War is of quintessential importance to its historical understanding. The "national 
security state" was a concept that resonated with American intellectuals during the 1960s 
and 1970s." Its potent image and unambiguous meaning explained in part the direction 
the country took with respect to the Vietnam War. During the last decade of the Cold 

Diplomatic History, " in Michael J. Hogan, ed., America in the World: The Historiography of 
American Foreign Relations since 1941 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 20-62. 

Michael J. Hogan, The Marshall Plan: America, Britain, and the Reconstruction of Western 
Europe, 1947-1952 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988); Michael J. Hogan, A Cross of 
Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State (New York: Cambridge 
University Press, 1998). 

'^ See C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite (New York: Oxford University Press, 1956); Fred Cook, 
The Warfare State (New York: Collier Books, 1962); Adam Yarmolinsky, The Military 
Establishment: Its Impact on American Society (New York: Harper & Row, 1972); Gene M. Lyons 
and Louis Morton, Schools for Strategy, Education and Research in National Security Affairs (New 
York: Praeger, 1965); Paul Dickson, Think Tanks (New York: Atheneum, 1971); Marcus G. 
Raskin, The Politics of National Security (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1979); 
Richard J. Barnet, The Economy of Death (New York: Atheneum, 1969) and Roots of War (New 
York: Atheneum, 1972; Franz Schurmann, The Logic of World Power: An Inquiry into the Origins, 
Currents and Contradictions of World Politics (New York: Pantheon Books, 1974); William H. 
Read, America's Mass Media Merchants (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976). In 
addition to Hogan' s A Cross of Iron, a newer institutional literature written by historians has 
begun to explore the subject of the national security state, but the focus is primarily on its 
institutional history. See Gregory Hooks, Forging the Military-Industrial Complex: World War II's 
Battle of the Potomac (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1991); Benjamin Franklin Cooling, 
Complex Gray Steel and Blue Water Navy: The Formative Years of America's Military-Industrial 
Complex, 1881-1917 (Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1979); Harvey M. Sapolsky, Science and the 
Navy: The History of the Office of Naval Research (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 
1990); Stuart W. Leslie, The Cold War and American Science: The Military-Industrial-Academic 
Complex at MIT and Stanford (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

War, other highly regarded American diplomatic historians, most notably Melvyn Leffler 
and John Gaddis, advanced somewhat different state-centered explanations for the Cold 
War and American foreign policy. Leffler' s study of the Truman administration, 
published in 1992, interpreted American policy as motivated by the national security 
objective to "maintain the core," namely. Western Europe within the strategic alliance 
against the Soviets. The industrial core, in Leffler' s interpretation, represented an 
American view of its vital interest in world affairs. Protecting that core ensured, in 
American eyes, that Soviet influence would be held in check. ^^ 

Gaddis, whose work spanned the Cold War in its entirety, took a structural view that 
subsumed political economy as secondary to military force.'' His perspective understood 
the Cold War as almost entirely a strategic rivalry. Power, nuclear and conventional, 
implemented by successive "strategies of containment," explained the basic nature of the 
behavior of the superpowers. Working exclusively with American sources and 
understanding the binational relationship with respect to American strategic doctrine, 
Gaddis viewed American policy as either "asymmetric" (selective) or "symmetric" 
(uniform) in nature. In Gaddis' s view, there are "lumpers" and "splitters" in historical 
research. The splitters never arrive at a general synthesis, and indeed are opposed to the 
idea of one. "Lumpers" like him, in contrast, build grand designs, emphasizing the 
integrity of repetitive actions and strategies by international actors."' In a later work, 
summing up his career as a Cold War historian and paying tribute to the "new Cold War 
history" being produced by a younger generation of historians, Gaddis' s views of the 
conflict had changed somewhat. Rather than positing a deterministic view of structure 
founded upon "geopolitical codes," as he had suggested in the early 1980s, fifteen years 
later he concluded that cause and effect in history were always contingent and 
"multidimensional." In this revised explanation, the international history of the twentieth 
century was founded on both the structure of realist analysis — that is, national self- 

Melvyn P. Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, 
and the Cold War (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992), 500-1. 

' John Gaddis, Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National 
Security Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982); John Gaddis, The Long Peace: 
Inquiries into the History of the Cold War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987); John 
Gaddis, The United States and the End of the Cold War. John Gaddis summed up a professional 
lifetime of Cold War history research in What We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History (New 
York: Oxford University Press, 1997). 
This was Gaddis 's argument: 
This book is an effort to redress the balance in favor of "lumping, " approaches its subject, 
not from the more traditional diplomatic, economic or military perspectives, but from an angle of 
vision that I think incorporates all of these: that of strategy. By "strategy, " 1 mean quite simply the 
process by which ends are related to means, intentions to capabilities, and objectives to resources. 
(Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, viii) 



interests — and the caprice of leaders who externalized their neuroses onto world politics. 
Gaddis, of course, was referring to Stalin.^"' 

The objective of this narrative is similar with respect to the idea of structure in 
foreign policy and international relations. However, my concept of structure is quite 
different. I have reexamined the nature of American foreign relations within the context 
of both twentieth-century international and U.S. history, and viewed such history as 
largely determined by a complex structure that exists everywhere in human society. The 
idea underlying this narrative is to consider American society and its relationship to the 
world in the past century as a structured but layered design in which the instrumental and 
the structural are linked by the concept of scripts, and in particular, the technocratic script 
of the twentieth century. Although radical in interpretation, the text is chronological. It 
moves forward through the readily identifiable periods of twentieth-century international 
history, from the First World War to the present. The story begins with the advent of 
Wilsonian internationalism, when the United States became a dominant global force, and 
ends in the contemporary era with the current hegemonic force of Americanism 
embracing the technological revolutions and the new technocratic internationalism of the 
twenty-first century. '"* 

However traditional the chronological approach may be, the interpretive framework 
is, substantially, new and idiosyncratic. It represents my particular synthesis of social 
science and humanist paradigms for the understanding of national and international 
history. The narrative moves with strong linear concepts of the development of 
institutions, leaderships, and systems of knowledge. It endeavors to explain the scripted 
behavior of elite groups and individuals, from Woodrow Wilson through the presidencies 
of the early post-Cold War era. The topic, the path of American internationalism, 
required focus on the major crises and transformations of the century. The analysis 
includes the Great Depression, the Second World War, and the nuclear and nonnuclear 
crises of the extended Cold War. Finally, the narrative concludes with an analytical view 
of the emergence of the post-Cold War world in the last decade of the century and the 
contemporary period. This study has been conceived as an ambitious work, demanding a 
rigorous and creative view of modern history, and is provocative and radical, in some 
ways, in its approach to the subject. 

' Gaddis, What We Now Know, 281—95. For a very different perspective on the Cold War, one 
that rejects Gaddis' s work almost in its entirety, see Cumings, The Roaring of the Cataract and 
Parallax Visions: Making Sense of East Asian Relations at the End of the Century (Durham, NC: 
Duke University Press, 1999). 

For the impact of Woodrow Wilson's ideology on the twentieth century, see Frank Ninkovich, 
Modernity and Power: A History of the Domino Theory in the Twentieth Century (Chicago: 
University of Chicago Press, 1994) and The Wilsonian Century: U.S. Foreign Policy since 1900 
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999). Recent syntheses on twentieth-century international 
history include Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914—1991 
(London: M. Joseph, 1994); John Lukacs, The End of the Twentieth Century and the End of the 
Modern Age (New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1993); John Grenville, A History of the World in the 
Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

The book's historical synthesis, advanced for American international history, lends a 
very different treatment to the twentieth-century era than what has been written by most 
diplomatic historians. Deliberately, this work is intended as more than just a diplomatic 
or political history of American foreign relations. Instead, I have developed an analytical 
narrative that interprets twentieth-century international American history within the 
context of several unique constructs. I have used the terms "scripts," "epistemologies," 
and "technocratic" to interpret modern history and American culture and institutions in 
particular. In broad terms, the devices, metaphors, or constructs that I have used all 
concern the concept of a technocratic civilization. In the idea of a technocratic modern 
world, the organizing principles of science, industrial capitalism, and the political 
ideologies of nation-states coalesce into a structured global narrative. In the modern 
technocratic world, scripted patterns of national behavior have created a contemporary 
chronology of crises and resolutions, of chaos and disaster juxtaposed with order and 

As used in this text, the term "technocratic" carries several meanings. First, the idea 
refers to an abstract notion of technology. The concepts of technology and technocratic 
are similar, but are not identical. In effect, technologies of various kinds are tools of the 
technocratic." Technology may be defined as physical or intellectual in nature, although 
in the last analysis, all physical aspects of technology are connected to its intellectual 
construction, while intellectual technologies, such as technical fields of knowledge, are 
almost always manifested in some way in physical terms. Physical technology is easy 
enough to understand. The tools that sparked the agricultural revolution in eighteenth- 
century Europe and the machines that started the factory system were physical 
technologies that can be seen and held in human hands. Intellectual technology, however, 
does not have a physical presence, although it may have enormous effects on 
civilizations. Physical technology in the form of cannons, rifles, and wagons enabled the 
armies of Napoleon. Napoleon's grand strategy, however, which existed only in his mind 
and in the ink of his planning documents, was also technology. The technologies for 

The architect and historian Lewis Mumford developed the technological theory of history. See 
Technics and Civilization (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1934) and Myth of the Machine: The 
Pentagon of Power (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1970). 

' Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society (New York: Vintage Books, 1964); Daniel Bell, The 
Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting (New York: Basic Books, 
1973); Yoneji Masuda, The Information Society as Post-Industrial Society (Tokyo: Institute for the 
Information Society, 1980); James R. Beniger, The Control Revolution: Technological and 
Economic Origins of the Information Society (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986); 
Taichi Sakaiya, trans. George Fields and William Marsh, The Knowledge- Value Revolution, or, A 
History of the Future (New York: Kodansha International, 1991); Peter Drucker, Post-Capitalist 
Society (New York: Harper Business, 1993); Matthew Friedman, Fuzzy Logic: Dispatches from the 
Information Revolution (Montreal: Vehicule Press, 1997); Manuel Castells, The Rise of the 
Network Society (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000); Gabriel Brahm Jr. and Mark Driscoll, eds.. Prosthetic 
Territories: Politics and Hypertechnologies (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995); Wendy Currie, 
The Global Information Society (New York: Wiley, 2000). 



building the industrial systems of the nineteenth and twentieth century were also 
intellectual, although their physical reality became apparent in the railroads, steel mills, 
power plants, skyscrapers, motor vehicles, and electronic telecommunications systems 
that they produced. Further, even the abstract theories of scientists became technology. 
Einstein's theory of relativity became an intellectual technology when it was applied to 
the real world. The "Little Boy" which exploded over Hiroshima in 1945 was both a 
physical technology, evidenced by its massive destructive effect, and also a manifestation 
of the intellectual technology of the new field of nuclear engineering. Further, the post- 
World War II expansion of knowledge in all of the applied sciences, from clinical 
psychology, sociology, economics, and business administration, to the post-Cold War 
sciences of genomics, proteomics, and nanotechnology, resulted in the geometric 
expansion of technology, divorced from the physical world. Instead, the manufacture of 
ideas became the most salient function of postindustrial technocratic civilization.^' 

Technocratic civilization should be defined as the creation of societies dedicated to 
the production of increasingly complex physical and intellectual technologies. All 
technology should be referenced as part of a technical civilization and its institutional 
systems. Whether these technologies are steam locomotives, steel mills, computer chips, 
or the economic science of John Maynard Keynes, Milton Friedman, or Karl Marx, they 
should be considered technocratic. The physical and mental aspects of human 
technologies are integrated parts of each technocratic society and civilization. 
"Technocratic knowledge" may be social science, physical or natural science, or any 
technical field or discipline that uses systematic, quantitative measurements. I have 
termed organized systems of knowledge as epistemologies. Technocratic epistemologies, 
or what I have also called "epistemological systems," are one central component of 
technocratic societies. The other component is institutions. Institutions organized into 
"institutional systems" and connected to technocratic knowledge define what I have 
termed as technocratic.'* 

/ use epistemology as a term for the construction of knowledge into an organized system of 
knowing within a particular political, social, and historical context. Philosophers understand this 
as a theory of social epistemology. See Alvin Goldman's review essay "Social Epistemology" at (copyright 2001) and Alvin Goldman, 
Knowledge in a Social World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999). With respect to 
institutions, the field of organizational behavior that crosses the social and policy sciences is 
quintessentially a technocratic system of knowledge. Modern corporate and public sector 
institutions are structured according to the engineered characteristics of the technocratic 
epistemology of organizational or management science. See, for example, Anant R. Negandhi, ed.. 
Modern Organizational Theory: Contextual, Environmental, and Socio-Cultural Variables (Kent, 
OH: Kent State University Press, 1973); Henry L. Tosi, Neal P. Mero, and John R. Rizzo, 
Managing Organizational Behavior, 4th ed. (Maiden, MA: Blackwell Business, 2000). 

Historical studies of a managed institutional society include David F. Noble, America by 
Design: Science, Technology, and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism (New York: Knopf, 1977); 
Samuel Haher, Efficiency and Uplift: Scientific Management in the Progressive Era, 1890-1920 
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973); Stephen P. Waring, Taylorism Transformed: 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

With respect to American history, technocratic culture has been central and, in the 
most modern period, preponderant in its influence. The scientific-industrial revolutions of 
Western history are the path, for technocratic knowledge and culture that connects 
directly to America's role in modern history. Therefore, in order to fully understand the 
United States in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as a great power and as a 
cosmopolitan society, we must come to terms with the foundations and meanings of the 
technocratic, within Western and, in particular, American culture. Technocracy has 
everything to do with knowledge — its acquisition, development, uses, and meanings. It 
has meant the proliferation and refinement of technocratic institutions and their 
development, powers, and interrelationships.^' 

Finally, I introduce the concept of scripts. Scripts have governed the technocratic 
organization of American culture and society during the last century. Scripts are 
narratives that relate to patterns of conduct. They create the dramaturgy of a group, 
institution, or culture. The dynamics of scripts will be defined and described in much 
detail. I introduce the key terms, namely, scripts, metascripts, epistemologies, knowledge 
systems, technocratic, liberal technocratic, and others, as I build the narrative. The 
resulting portrait of modern times that emerges from this scholarly text will be a complex 
and challenging one. Hopefully, it will be compelling as well as provocative and will 
facilitate a reasoned examination of the nature of global and national processes of change 
as I have shown them. I should expect a wide range of opinion on my interpretation, and I 
am not afraid of the risk carried by an attempt at a sweeping and thoroughly 
unconventional view of modern history. 

For reasons that I will explain, I have named my subject the redeemer nation. This has 
been done because of America's own thematic self-definition. In terms of their own 
cultural identity, America and Americans have always imagined themselves as 
redeemers. To redeem, in Judeo-Christian religion, means to achieve salvation from God. 
To be redeemed, in American culture, has always been associated with actions related to 
achieving what God wants from his people. In America, this has meant a society that 
governs itself according to God's law — namely, a society that has spread the Judeo- 
Christian truths about monotheism and the community of all peoples. American 

Scientific Management Theory since 1945 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 
1991); Daniel Nelson, ed., A Mental Revolution: Scientific Management since Taylor (Columbus: 
Ohio State University Press, 1992); J.-C. Spender and Hugo J. Kijne, eds., Scientific Management: 
Frederick Winslow Taylor's Gift to the World? (Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996). 
Books on "technocracy" date to the early 1930s. See Wayne Parrish, An Outline of Technocracy 
(New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1933); James Parkin, Public Management: Technocracy, 
Democracy and Organizational Reform (Brookfield, VT: Avebury, 1994); see note 24. 

This returns us to the questions of the social construction of knowledge and the use of 
technical and scientific knowledge by the modem state in support of global interests. See Lewis 
Mumford, The Myth of the Machine, vol. 2, The Pentagon of Power (New York: Harcourt & Brace, 
1967); Ron Robin, The Making of the Cold War Enemy: Culture and Politics in the Military- 
Intellectual Complex (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001); Hogan, A Cross of Iron, 
1-22, 209-64. 



historiography has shown these aspects of redemption or worldly mission in plenitude.^" 
Americans are heirs to the Western and specifically Protestant culture that has compelled 
society to impart a sense of mission, a path for the righteous against the evil inflicted 
upon the world. The mission adopted by groups and individuals has been religious, as the 
country preserved traditional religious forms throughout the twentieth century. Yet, 
importantly, the sense of mission has also been secular. Mission in American society and 
culture is so ubiquitous it is often unrecognized. It has often been transformed into 
something thoroughly materialistic, commercial, and self -centered. Still, redemption as a 
cultural desire remains quintessential to Americans and Americanism.^' 

At the national level, the original concept of religious mission remains sublimated in 
the collective actions of the nation-state. Mission requires a belief in exceptionalism, and 
the historiography of American foreign relations has been replete with description and 
analysis of American belief in its exceptionalist mission to the world. From the founding 
generation of the late eighteenth century through all the patriotic rhetoric of nineteenth- 
century America, including the idea of Manifest Destiny in the 1840s and Lincoln's 
speech at Gettysburg, and through the age of imperialism, including the building of the 
Panama Canal at the turn of the twentieth century, the primacy and success of American 
destiny has been its redemption. Redemption, however, is always in the eye of the 
beholder. America was redeemed in its success against its adversaries, and in the 
expansion of its society, irrespective of its political and economic contradictions. 
Americans during the twentieth century retained the script to expand Americanism and to 
build the liberal technocratic order that combined parliamentary forms of democracy with 
multinational capitalism. Through the rhetoric of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, 

Daniel T. Rodgers, "Exceptionalism, " in Gordon S. Wood and Anthony Molho, eds., 
Imagined Histories: American Historians Interpret the Past (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University 
Press, 1998), 3—25; Dorothy Ross, "Grand Narrative in Nineteenth Century America, " American 
Historical Review {October 1989): 909-28; Frederick Merck, Manifest Destiny and Mission in 
American History: A Reinterpretation (New York: Knopf, 1963); Robert W. Johannsen, To the 
Halls of the Montezumas: The Mexican War in the American Imagination (New York: Oxford 
University Press, 1985). 

Millenarianism has been characteristic of American culture for four hundred years. It has a 
long tradition integral to the Western grand narrative or metascript. W. Clark Gilpin, The 
Millenarian Piety of Roger Williams (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979); Jonathan 
Edwards, "The End for Which God Created the World" in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 1 
(Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1995), 94-121; Charles R. Watson, God's Plan for World 
Redemption: An Outline Study of the Bible and Missions (Philadelphia, PA: United Presbyterian 
Church ofN. A., 1911); Grant Underwood, The Millenarian World of Early Mormonism (Urbana: 
University of Illinois Press, 1993); James H. Moorehead, American Apocalypse: Yankee 
Protestants and the Civil War, 1860-1869 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1978); Stuart 
Murray and James McCabe, Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms: Images That Inspire a Nation 
(Stockbridge, MA: Norman Rockwell Museum, 1993); Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff (New York: 
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1979); Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill, 
First Things First Every Day: Because Where You're Headed Is More Important Than How Fast 
You're Going (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan, the purposes of liberal internationalism have 
permeated the national culture. America the successful and victorious redeemer has 
understood itself as an exceptional nation: chosen by Providence to redeem itself through 
its globalism.''^ 

Whether the Americans in question were deeply religious or thoroughly secular, they 
could not then — and today cannot — escape the cultural phenomenon of personal 
redemption. That redemption may have been banal or quixotic, or vane and elitist, but in 
all cases it has been defined by the individual. To be an American, one inherits the 
historical claims of American nationality, including a commitment to self-definition. 
Irrespective of the impact of secular culture on modern American life, the idea of seeking 
God's salvation through just purpose was and remains a core precept of national and 
individual purpose and identity. America, the redeemer — memorialized in literature and 
art, from the patriotic hymns, novels, music, and oil paintings of the eighteenth and 
nineteenth centuries to the cinematic mythology of the twentieth, invigorated by its 
worldly mission and success in modern history — has given the world an enormously 
complex scientific -industrial civilization." 

By any historical standards, the country's achievements have been extraordinary. The 
breadth and depth of its globalism surpasses that of all previous empires in world history. 
Indeed, the United States, with its combined political, military, and economic power, 
cultural influence, and stunning scientific and technological innovations has attained the 
unique distinction of a truly international civilization. In the technocratic age of the 
twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Americanism pervades the consciousness of national 
cultures. Not only Coca-Cola or McDonald's, or the icons of rock music and Hollywood, 
but also the genuine, impetuous nature of Americanism has caused it to dominate. ^'' 
Clearly, the world scientific and industrial revolutions that the United States has come to 
demonstrate its status as the ship of state for Western society. 

According to the "grand narrative" of American history, during the nineteenth and 
twentieth centuries, Americans, through their legendary traits of innovation and 
entrepreneurialism, through collaborative and voluntary associations, and through a 
willingness to tolerate all kinds of rebellion and unconventional thinking enabled their 

Ernest Lee Tuveson, Redeemer Nation: The Idea of America's Millennial Role (Chicago, 
University of Chicago Press, 1968); Michael Hunt, Ideology and U.S. Foreign Policy (New Haven, 
CT: Yale University Press, 1987); Ninkovich, The Wilsonian Century; Thomas Knock, To End All 
Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order (New York: Oxford University 
Press, 1992); Orrin Schwab, Defending the Free World: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and the 
Vietnam War, 1961-1965 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998). 

Tuveson, Redeemer Nation; Margarita Mathiopoulos, History and Progress: In Search of the 
European and American Mind (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1989), 93-150. 

^Emily Rosenberg, Spreading the American Dream: American Economic and Cultural 
Expansion, 1890-1945 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1982); Michael J. Hogan, ed.. The Ambiguous 
Legacy: U.S. Foreign Relations in the "American Century" (Cambridge: Cambridge University 
Press, 1999); Eric Smoodin, ed., Disney Discourse: Producing the Magic Kingdom (New York: 
Routledge, 1994). 



country to impress its leadership on the world. In the course of just one century, the 
country surpassed the imperial achievements of the great European empires. From 
generation to generation, the culture has supported its cherished belief in the singular or 
exceptionalist place of America in modern world history. ^"^ 

American exceptionalism, despite its banishment from historiography, remains a 
mythos that has dominated American nationalist identity. Its truisms have been repeated 
in school textbooks and political rhetoric, reinventing a perpetual iconography for 
American history. The country, a British society transplanted to a wilderness of 
seemingly boundless natural wealth, took as its mission, Judeo-Christian and Calvinist in 
nature, to bring Zion back to the world. Zion has been metaphorical for all the struggles 
or missions that Americans have undertaken since 1776. Since independence, Americans 
have fought for freedom and equality because these are required by natural law. These 
ideas were always contextual or historical notions. So, freedom for the South was a very 
different freedom than for those in the North, and still more different for groups such as 
African Americans who bore racial discrimination almost everywhere. The sanctity of the 
American Zion remained particular to different groups as the country moved into the 
twentieth century. On all sides of political and economic issues — from labor rights, 
women's rights, and foreign policy to government taxation and regulation — the concept 
of a new Zion inspired Americans." 

In being inspired, they combined synergistically the Protestant Reformation with the 
scientific and capitalist revolutions of the Enlightenment. The energy for messianic quest, 
combined with the rational, antiauthoritarian, commercial orientations of the early 

Ross, "Grand Narrative" ; Tuveson, Redeemer Nation, 187-214. Some of the most 
outstanding examples of scripted American exceptionalism can be found in the rhetoric of 
contemporary American nationalists. See Norman Podhoretz, Why We Were in Vietnam (New 
York: Simon cfe Schuster, 1982); Barry M. Goldwater, Why Not Victory? A Fresh Look at 
American Foreign Policy (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1962). The other side of redemption may be 
seen in the equally sanctimonious rejection of American exceptionalism in the rhetoric of the 
American left. See Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy (London: Verso, 1991); Ramsey Clark, 
War Crimes: A Report on United States War Crimes against Iraq (Washington, DC: Maisonneuve 
Press, 1992); Joan Hoff, "The American Century: From Sarajevo to Sarajevo, " in Michael J. 
Hogan, ed.. The Ambiguous Legacy: U.S. Foreign Relations in the "American Century" 
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 183—231. The redemptive script is present in 
most political and social writings by Americans. The need to justify and sanctify one's own 
argument through moralizing has been a quintessential style of American scholars writing about 
contemporary issues. 

David Bilger, Forgotten Kingdom: The Mormon Theocracy in the American West, 1847- 
1896 (Spokane, WA: Arthur H. Clark, 1998); Jeffry Kaplan, Radical Religion in America: 
Millenarian Movements from the Far Right to the Children of Noah (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse 
University Press, 1997); James Holstun, A Rational Millennium: Puritan Utopias of Seventeenth- 
Century England and America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987); Ruth H. Bloch, 
Visionary Republic: Millennial Themes in American Thought 1756-1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge 
University Press, 1985); David Garrow, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the 
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (London: Vintage, 1986). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

republic, formed the script for the next two centuries."'' Over two centuries, the synthesis 
of seventeenth-century radical British Protestantism with the liberal technocratic 
paradigm of Western industrialism produced the redeemer of the technocratic age. 
America's Zion, originally Puritan, then Jeffersonian, in the twentieth century eventually 
became the digital and militarized society of the late Cold War. By the early twenty-first 
century, the small hamlets of the seventeenth and eighteenth century that had been 
America had been replaced by a nation that had become the global embodiment of 
technocratic culture and institutions.'* 

From a nationalist perspective, American history has been a truly exceptional 
enterprise of nation building. The political history of the United States describes a nation 
that was conceived only in the eighteenth century. It was a "new" society settled in a 
"new" world of enormous virgin forests, richly fertile plains, and freshwater lakes and 
rivers. American culture, founded on the issues and collective memories of the English 
Civil War, required a broad definition of human freedom and a limited state. As the 
historiography suggests, the unique circumstances of the nation's origins, and the scripted 
paths of its founding peoples toward political and religious tolerance and egalitarianism, 
led the country to the brilliant industrial and scientific developments of the nineteenth 
and twentieth centuries. Irrespective of its political contradictions, which are legion, in its 
genesis the United States was and remains a nation of world historical importance. Its 
success in expanding its cultural, political, and strategic domains from North America to 
the far corners of the globe has been almost unbounded." 

American historiography has portrayed an increasingly heterogeneous and complex 
nation. Heterogeneity was found not only in the country's demographics, which have, of 
course, been marked by the increasing non-Western European origins of the American 

^^Gordon S. Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (New York: Knopf, 1992), 325- 
47; Charles Sellers, The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846 (New York: Oxford 
University Press, 1991). 

U.S. Government, Office of the President, National Science and Technology Council, National 
Nanotechnology Initiative: The Initiative and Its Implementation Plan, NSTC/NSET Report, July 
2000; Mihail C. Roco and William Sims Bainhridge, eds.. Societal Implications of Nanoscience and 
Nanotechnology (Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001). 

For current treatments see, for example, the essays in Hogan, The Ambiguous Legacy and 
The Historiography of American Foreign Relations since 1941 (Cambridge: Cambridge University 
Press, 1995). A mistaken belief in America's "decline" was a response to the foreign policy 
disasters of the Cold War's middle period (notably the Vietnam War) and the industrial 
competitiveness of Japan and Western Europe. These factors triggered a small literature that 
addressed American decline as a global power. See Lester Thurow, The Zero-Sum Society: 
Distribution and the Possibilities for Economic Change (New York: Basic Books, 1980) and Zero- 
Sum Solution: Building a World-Class American Economy (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1985); 
Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict 
from 1500 to 2000 (New York: Random House, 1987); Paul Kennedy, Preparing for the Twenty- 
first Century (London: HarperCollins, 1993). The economic and strategic changes of the first 
decade of the post-Cold War period militated against these arguments. 



population, but also in the cosmopolitan nature of American urban culture. In its 
complexity, the historiography documents the institutional expansion and diversity of 
both public and private sectors and the growth of regulatory regimes, industrial systems, 
and technologies as the military institutions that defined the Cold War. The historical 
literature has been dominated by generations of nationalist historians sensitive to the 
nuances of American language and culture. These narratives have depicted an American 
society in the twentieth century that is both an integral national community as well as a 
dominant nation-state in international relations.'*'^ 

It is remarkable that given the exponential technological and demographic changes of 
the last two hundred years, strong similarities remain between the United States at its 
conception and the United States today. A nation of subsistence farmers, who knew 
nothing more than how to plow a field and work with animals, has become thoroughly 
technocratic — not merely industrialized, but postindustrial, with its vision of the future 
digital and molecular. "* ' Ostensibly, the agrarian nation of between three and four million 
people would appear hardly comparable with its muscular, technocratic descendant. The 
America of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century participates in a world 
dominated by enormous quantities of scientific and technical information and by 
intellectual constructs that represent an entirely different idea of the nature of the 
universe and human life. Its society is composed of several hundred million people, with 
few living off the land. Gentlemen of the early republic spoke French and Latin and 
might have been familiar with science as understood two hundred years ago."*' There was 
no theory of evolution as yet, nor a theory of relativity, electrical appliances, combustion 
engines, nuclear physics, electronic computers, or telecommunications; nor were there 
space satellites, x-ray machines, magnetic resonance imaging, electronic databases, radio 
or television, Internet, or any other form of mass communication except for occasion 
newspapers. There were no jet aircraft or, other than balloons, aircraft of any kind. 
Photography was unknown, as were refrigeration, sterilization, and microscopy. The 
material culture known to the founders included sailing ships, lanterns, muskets, and 
horse carriages. Despite the acceptance of the heliocentric universe and the scientific and 
mathematical methods of the Enlightenment, secular thought was only thinly separated 
from religious doctrine.^' 

It would appear that the chronological distance between the eighteenth and 
twentieth — and now twenty-first — centuries does not capture the magnitude of change in 
material culture. The path of American history over two centuries demonstrates such 
radical change in technological development, and in consciousness, that one wonders if 

Hogan, America in the World, 1-155. 

Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution; Sellers, The Market Revolution; William 
Gates, Business @ the Speed of Thought: Succeeding in the Digital Economy (New York: Warner 
Books, 2000). 

*'Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, 91, 195-203. 

*'lbid., 189-212; Bernard Cohen, Science and the Founding Fathers: Science in the Political 
Thought of Jefferson, Franklin, Adams and Madison (New York: Norton, 1995). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

continuity in American culture has been superseded by it. Naturally, contemporary 
America represents a vastly different society. All the superlatives are more or less 
correct. Twenty-first century America has become immeasurably wealthier, more 
powerful, and technologically more advanced. In ethnocultural terms as well, the country 
has been transmogrified over the last century. Protestant Christianity must now share 
space with a much larger Catholic population, as well as American Jews, Orthodox 
Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists, not to mention the new nineteenth-century 
Christianity of Mormonism, and the New Age religions of the twentieth century. In 
addition to the four British seed cultures that Andrew Hackett Fischer documents so 
brilliantly, Americans are also of more than a hundred new ethnicities, including such 
broad categories as Eastern and Southern European, Middle Eastern, South Asian, 
Southeast Asian, East and Central Asian, Pacific Islander, Latino and Latino Amerindian, 
African American, African, Afro-Caribbean, and Native American. In sum, the country is 
at least as different as the world itself has become over the last two centuries of modern 



Whether or not Americans and American public historians agree, the United States 
has become culturally and institutionally a nation that has transcended its origins. Its 
bureaucratic modernity and mass culture and its pervasive multiethnic and multiracial 
internationalism have created a new state and civil society quite different from either the 
reality or the vision of the founding generation. The axiomatic distinction in American 
historiography between Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian Americas has been surpassed by 
the vision of the new century. The shape of the new American culture of the twenty-first 
century is both ethereal and overpowering. No doubt its development will epitomize the 
postmodernism and cosmopolitanism found at the center of America's most important 
cities, redefining a Western culture, now a global culture, that the aged cultural historian 
Jacques Barzun believed, contemplating New York City in 1995, had run its course. The 
new culture should also develop, following the script for the liberal technocratic order, as 
engineered reality produced by scientific and corporate institutions. One may surmise that 
the new century should quickly envelope America inside a new mentality. This new 
consciousness might thoroughly transcend the digital and technocratic into a post- 
technocratic civilization. Most likely, those terms that describe the present will become 
embedded in the language of the new age. They should become part of the substrate of a 
new and truly global civilization.'" 

David Hackett Fischer, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (New Yoric: Oxford 
University Press, 1989). Widely reported figures circa 2000 showed 190 ethnic groups with nearly 
as many languages in the New York City borough of Queens (population 2.2 million). For an 
overview of census figures, see Population Reference Bureau, "America's Diversity and Growth: 
Signposts for the 21st Century, " Population Bulletin 55, no. 2 (June 2000) (Washinton, DC: GPO, 

'A thoroughly erudite and cynical view of this civilization is found in Jacques Barzun, From 
Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present (New York: 
HarperCollins, 2000), 773-802. 


Chapter I 
The Scripting of American InternationaUsm 

Throughout its history, American society has been an amalgam of collective 
narratives. Each of these narratives has been a script connected in numerous ways to 
smaller and larger ones. An important question to ask is whether the scripts that define 
American society are still applicable in the current age. In other words, despite the vast 
changes in American society, does the scripting process hold through time? Does, in fact, 
the United States — as an institutional system, as a national culture, and as a nation- 
state — have the same script in the twenty-first century as it did in the eighteenth? Does 
continuity exist between the revolutionary and early republic America of Thomas 
Jefferson and the machine-driven technocracy of the Cold War? Does the same script 
remain at the core of American culture? The short answer to these questions should be 

In popular history and in much of the academic historiography of twentieth-century 
America, U.S. foreign relations have been portrayed as a practice involving a society 
whose relationship and mission to the world has always been explicit. In the academic 
literature, the mission of exporting American ideals is attached to a complex combination 
of ulterior motives involving economic, political, and strategic interests that also need to 
be differentiated between various domestic, institutional, and international elites.'*'' 

Americans who shaped American international history from the First World War to the 
present belonged to different groups, each with its particular style and influence on the 
scope of foreign policy. There were statesmen of enormous historical importance who 
made a decisive impact on the world and American society. Looking at the twentieth 
century as a whole, leading figures such as Franklin Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Dean 

Fischer would say yes. Fischer, Albion's Seed, 880-98. In U.S. foreign relations, this begs 
the question between the various advocates of cultural, political, world systems, corporatist, and 
national security studies. Of course there is no consensus, other than on the complexity of the 
subject. See the roundtable discussion on the field in Hogan, America in the World, 1-155. 

Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Acheson, Dean Rusk, John Foster Dulles, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton 
came with disparate views of the international system and of the respective uses of 
American power to sustain it. In a very similar vein, the same matters of interests and 
mission were clear to influential American historians and social scientists. Seminal 
thinkers such as George Kennan, Walt Rostow, Arthur Schlesinger, and Harold Lasswell 
and journalists such as Walter Lippmann, Joseph Alsop, David Halberstam, and James 
Reston had an almost intuitive understanding of the dynamics of their culture. With very 
different concepts of American power and morality in world affairs, what all American 
observers dealt with and had to come to terms with in the American century was the 
collective national script for American history.**' 

The script for the United States and for any large nation-state should be understood as 
the integration or synthesis of collective scripts, connected to each other through common 
national experience. Over several hundred years, the American script has always been a 
"metascript," integrating vast networks of institutional, cultural, and group narratives into 
a common organizing gestalt. A large collective script, by necessity, organizes thousands 
of agents, each with its own particular historical narrative, grounded in the time and place 
of the individuals who have created it. Intricate, multilevel, dynamic, and adaptive, a 
metascript existed at the nation's birth in the eighteenth century and evolved and adapted 
from one generation to the next as the national dynamics, based upon ethnicity and group 
interests, demonstrated both continuity and change for the nation-state. Continuity and 
change were both found in the dramas of redemption from slavery, in patriotic wars, and 

The idea of a script that I use comes from the psychoanalytic tradition, specifically, the 
theories of Eric Berne, founder of the field of transactional psychology. Since his death in 1970, the 
closely related field of narrative psychology has blossomed. Narrative theory presupposes the same 
analytical construct: that human behavior is a product of a defined narrative. See Eric Berne, The 
Structure and Dynamics of Organizations and Groups (New York: Grove Press, 1963); Eric Berne, 
Intuition and Ego States: The Origins of Transactional Analysis: A Series of Papers (San 
Francisco: TA Press, 1977); Eric Berne, Beyond Games and Scripts (New York: Grove Press, 
1976); Eric Berne, What Do You Say after You Say Hello? The Psychology of Human Destiny 
(New York: Grove Press, 1972); Claude Steiner, Scripts People Live: Transactional Analysis of 
Life Scripts (New York: Grove Press, 1974); James M. Glass, Psychosis and Power: Threats to 
Democracy in the Self and the Group (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995); M. P. 
Freeman, Rewriting the Self: History, Memory, Narrative (New York: Routledge, 1993); R. Langs, 
"Psychoanalysis: Narrative Myth or Narrative Science, " Contemporary Psychoanalysis 29, no. 4 
(1993): 555-94; K. M. Hunter, Doctors' Stories: The Narrative Structure of Medical Knowledge 
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991); M. F. Hanley, "'Narrative,' Now and Then: A 
Critical Realist Approach, " International Journal of Psycho- Analysis 77, no. 3 (1996): 445-57; O. 
F. Goncalves, "Cognitive Narrative Psychotherapy: The Hermeneutic Construction of Alternative 
Meanings, " Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy 8, no. 2 (1994): 105-25; P. Van den Broek and R. 
Thurlow, "The Role and Structure of Personal Narratives, " special issue. Journal of Cognitive 
Psychotherapy 5, no. 4 (1991): 257-74. 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

in the battles over economic and civil rights that became so essential to the twentieth 
century's American narrative."*^ 

All historical scripts have to do with repetition. The actions of all political actors are 
founded upon complex cultural systems that repeat scenes and behaviors over historical 
time. In American history and in contemporary society there exists a national script that 
we can trace over centuries. However, as noted, this national script does not exist alone. 
All national scripts exist within complex webs of subordinate scripts that connect groups, 
institutions, and individuals. The national narrative existed in historical time, overlapping 
with a plethora of personal, familial, and group narratives that compose history in its 
entirety. Despite this seemingly unfathomable complexity, the dynamic organization of 
scripts within a society establishes an order. That order maintains itself even when it 
contains conflict systems of deep pathology and destructiveness. 

To historians and students of American history, the scripts that define the national 
experience should be quite familiar. In the well-defined American historiography and in 
popular culture, the idea of scripts driving large groups, small groups, and individuals 
seems intuitive. Historically, there were American scripts for the multigenerational 
conflict over slavery. Slavery ultimately raised the passions of debate to the point of 
secession and civil war. Undoubtedly, in such times, men begin to act reflexively, 
according to patterns of inherited behavior. The passions that drove the Civil War were 
scripted in the largest sense by the predicted actions of both sides against one another.*' 

Indeed, scripts may be easily identified within the well-developed subfields of 
American historiography. There were distinctive scripts for western settlement, in which 
different groups of pioneers moved across the Appalachians, the Ohio River valley, the 
Mississippi, the Great Plains, and finally the western mountains and deserts to the Pacific 
region. The Turner thesis aside, group scripts related to religion, ethnicity, and family 
drove settlers west to encounter native Amerindians and Mexicans. As "cultural systems" 
(to borrow at term from anthropology), scripts ordered life on the frontier for both the 
settlers and the peoples they encountered.'" Further, for each of the nation's wars, from 
Valley Forge to the Gulf War, and all manner of crises, foreign and domestic, within 
American political history, scripts have been both operational and observable. American 

Taylor Branch, Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-1965 (New York: Simon & 
Schuster, 1998); Alan Dawley, Struggles for Justice: Social Responsibility and the Liberal State 
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991); Cass Sunstein, After the Rights Revolution: 
Re-Conceiving the Regulatory State (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990). 

James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (New York: Oxford University 
Press, 1988); William Freehling, The Road to Disunion: Secessionists at Bay, 1776-1854 (New 
York: Oxford University Press, 1990); Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Southern Honor: Ethics and 
Behavior in the Old South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983). 

' See, for example, William H. Goetzmann, New Lands, New Men: America and the Second 
Great Age of Discovery (New York: Viking, 1986); Richard White and Patricia Limerick Nelson, 
The Frontier in American History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994); Richard White, 
The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815 (New 
York: Cambridge University Press, 1991). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

social, political, cultural, and economic history can all be defined with respect to the 
activation, development, evolution, and resolution of multileveled scripts, connecting 
individual actors with groups, institutions, and the larger matrices of society and the 
nation-state. Scripts produced collective action, as with the anti-immigrant riots and labor 
strikes of the late nineteenth century. They also controlled the actions and life plans of 
individuals, from presidents to lesser historical figures. Clearly, William Jennings 
Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech was a critical event in his personal life script, just as his 
performance as prosecutor in the Scopes trial of 1924 was another scripted landmark. (He 
died soon after.)'' 

In the vast realm of American historiography, whose past and present practitioners 
number in the tens of thousands, or more, there are innumerable scripts and metascripts. 
Scripts have defined the most pointed and elemental themes in American history. In the 
literature and in primary sources for the twentieth century, there were compelling scripts 
for the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, the Bay of Pigs invasion, and the Cuban Missile 
Crisis. Certainly, Kennedy's assassination and its aftermath were deeply scripted as event 
and as memory for American and international culture. American intervention in Vietnam 
was a grand, tragic narrative sewed into the fabric of American history by Lyndon 
Johnson, ostensibly a president of immense power, but whose actions were clearly guided 
by the hidden voices of the American script. When Johnson gave his July 1965 press 
conference speech that committed the United States to large-scale intervention, Johnson 
was an agent of history far more than an agent for himself." 

Scripts were present when Ronald Reagan visited with Mikhail Gorbachev in Iceland 
in 1986 for the famous summit that precipitated the end of the Cold War. Earlier, when 
Richard Nixon negotiated with Mao Zedong in 1972, beginning the path toward 

^'Robert Cherny, A Righteous Cause: The Life of William Jennings Bryan (Norman: University 
of Oklahoma Press, 1994); Louis W. Koenig, Bryan: A Political Biography of William Jennings 
Bryan (New York: Putnam Press, 1971); Kendrick Clements, William Jennings Bryan: Missionary 
Isolationist (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1983); Lawrence W. Levine, Defender of the 
Faith: William Jennings Bryan, The Last Decade, 1915-1925 (New York: Oxford University Press, 

The progressive school offers a classic interpretation of the Great Depression and World War 
II that invokes the script. See Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., The Age of Roosevelt, 3 vols. (Boston: 
Houghton Mifflin, 1957-1960) and James MacGregor Burns, The Lion and the Fox (New York: 
Harcourt, Brace, 1956) and Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 
1970); more contemporary versions of this narrative are found in John P. Diggins, The Proud 
Decades: America in War and Peace (New York: Norton, 1988) and David M. Kennedy, Freedom 
from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1933-1945 (New York: Oxford University 
Press, 1999); for Kennedy and Johnson, see the edited and annotated collections Philip Zelikow 
and Ernest May, eds.. The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the Kennedy White House during the Cuban 
Missile Crisis (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997) and Michael R. Beschloss, 
Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes, 1963-1964 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997) 
and Reaching for Glory: Lyndon Johnson's Secret White House Tapes, 1964-1965 (New York: 
Simon & Schuster, 2001). 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

diplomatic normalization between the two adversarial powers, they too followed the 
mechanisms of scripts.^"' As in so many other encounters between political actors, each 
statesman fulfilled his role within the historical context of his national leadership. No 
matter how doggedly some social scientists and historians subscribe to the idea of 
individual agency and the indeterminacy of history, human scripts have enveloped and 
defined history. Many historians writing about the philosophy of history have emphasized 
the complexity and unpredictability of what they have studied. However, I submit that 
cognitive structures that contain human cultures, including memories of war, are 
transmitted one generation to the next. What may look unpredictable is in fact quite 
predictable with respect to the scripts that are being engaged at the time. 

As a matter of intellectual supposition, I argue that scripts exist and are the principal 
agents for human behavior, at all levels of societal interaction and organization. They 
apply to individuals and groups as well as institutions. Scripts (or metascripts) guide 
nation-states through time. They are adaptive systems that modify in response to changes 
within the international system. Further, they adapt to changes within the internal 
structures of nations themselves. Ultimately, they can be understood as vast and 
formidably complex communication systems that shape culture and organize individual 
and collective action. By themselves, the human beings that compose them, including 
statesmen, artists, poets, intellectuals, scientists, and polemicists, may be able to fully 
understand only small parts of that complexity. It is that apparent depth and 
indeterminacy that has made national scripts simultaneously knowable and enigmatic, 
predictable but also paradoxical in nature. 

A Comparative View of Collective Scripts 

Beyond the nation-state, historical forces that commit states to structure and repetition 
also organize civilizations that transcend national boundaries. Classical Western 
civilization has survived for thousands of years, as have Chinese, Hindu, and Jewish 

' Michael Mandelbaum and Strobe Talbott, Reagan and Gorbachev (New York: Vintage Books, 
1987); Don Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era: The United States and the Soviet Union, 
1983-1991 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998); Jerry F. Hough, Democratization 
and Revolution in the USSR, 1985-1991 (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1997; Gordon 
Hahn, Russia's Revolution from Above, 1985-2000: Reform, Transition, and Revolution in the 
Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2002); Ross 
Terrill, Mao: A Biography, rev. ed. (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997); Xiaobing Li 
and Hongshan Li, eds., China and the United States: A New Cold War History (Lanham, MD: 
University Press of America, 1998); Kuo-kang Shao, Zhou Enlai and the Foundations of Chinese 
Foreign Policy (Houndmills, MD: Macmillan, 1996); John W. Garver, China's Decision for 
Rapprochement with the United States (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1982); Richard Reeves, 
President Nixon: Alone in the White House (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001); Henry Kissinger, 
White House Years (Boston: Little, Brown, 1979); Franz Schurmann, The Foreign Politics of 
Richard Nixon: The Grand Design (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987); Richard C. 
Thornton, The Nixon- Kissinger Years: Reshaping America's Foreign Policy (St. Paul, MN: 
Paragon House, 2001). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

civilizations. The scripts for these civilizations have been transmitted across generations, 
centuries, and millennia through the institutions of oral tradition, written tradition, and 
the group and life scripts of living historical cultures. Contemporary world civilization is 
an amalgam of historical scripts stretching back to the beginnings of permanent human 
settlement. Through hundreds of generations, these psychosocial structures have 
continued to reproduce the elements of their ancient scripts. The Jews continue the 
biblical narrative of oppression and rescue; the Chinese continue their traditions of 
cultural and political ethnocentrism even as they accommodate the "barbarians." In 
Western civilization, the impetus for scientific inquiry and rationality, as well as 
democratic political processes, preserves the methods and ideals of classical Greco- 
Roman civilization. The countervailing classical scripts for democracy and political order 
were preserved in Anglo-American and Latin American civilization. Hence, the modern 
empires and democracies of Europe and the Americas reproduced the Greek and Roman 
republics and the Roman Empire, gone for two thousand years. 

As in theatrical narratives, historical scripts have a beginning, an end, and an 
underlying purpose. An examination of an individual's life script will show these 
elements easily. A political leader is born into a given family, in a given time and place. 
His or her script becomes shaped by the confluence of experience, cultural milieu, and 
familial expectations that bear upon the individual. Franklin Roosevelt's leadership script 
was firmly ensconced in the context of his highly influential upper-class New York 
family and his particular role within the larger family. Adolf Hitler, in contrast, followed 
a life course, a career, that both fit and defined the tragedy that fell upon Germany in the 
twentieth century. His pathology was also the pathology of German culture as it wrestled 
with its national past and present. When these two giants, good and evil, of twentieth 
century history faced each other in the 1930s and 1940s, it was an encounter that 
mobilized both individual and collective scripts in New Deal America and Nazi 

In collective scripts, the purpose may be less apparent, unless the entity can truly be 
viewed in its entirety across historical time.'"* At the individual level, the psychological 
architecture of images, memories, perceptions, and attitudes that shape an individual's 

This point raises the issues of group process and theories of collective action. Collective 
action, as defined by most economists, political scientists, and sociologists, concerns different 
versions of rational choice theory. See John Scott, "Rational Choice Theory," private.www.essex. "Rational choice" is of little interest to historians, anthropologists, or 
other observers who define collective action with respect to historical cultures. Collective or group 
scripts are subconscious forms of "collective memories. " These may also be termed "narrative 
knowledge" or "co-intelligence." See Joyce Appleby Adams, ed.. Knowledge and Postmodernism 
in Historical Perspective (New York: Routlege, 1996); Julie Cruikshank, The Social Life of Stories: 
Narrative and Knowledge in the Yukon Territory (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998); 
Bo Strath, ed.. Myth and Memory in the Construction of Community: Historical Patterns in Europe 
and Beyond (New York: P. I.E. P. Lang, 2000); Janet Coleman, Ancient and Medieval Memories: 
Studies in the Reconstruction of the Past (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992). 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

life choices, social roles, and personal outcomes are a script.'"^ Scripts that are 
fundamentally the same guide all individuals, from ordinary workers and professionals to 
local, national, and international personages. All individual scripts, or life narratives, are 
embedded in larger collective scripts. A collective narrative describes the history of 
groups, large and small. Families are scripted, as are groups, institutions, cultures, nation- 
states, and civilizations. Collective scripts develop over years, decades, centuries, and, in 
the case of civilizations, millennia. Judeo-Christian, Chinese, Hindu, and animist 
civilizations are cultural systems that survived and adapted as political, economic, 
technological, and demographic change surrounded them. Nation-states too, whether they 
are victors in or victims of the international system, have existed over centuries, carrying 
their collective narratives of tragedies and triumphs from one generation to the next." 
Scripts appear to organize all areas of human existence, and there may be, if we think 
broadly enough, a script for the human species itself — an organizing system defined by 
evolution and the place of Homo sapiens in the biological world. In this sense, the 
concept of cognitive-behavioral scripts is consistent with the evolutionist's view of all 
life. That is, life systems are guided by what Edward Wilson has termed "epigenetic 
rules."'' In human history, those rules are found embedded everywhere in the dramaturgy 
of human narratives. There are winners and losers, as there must be. Winning and losing 
is partly self-defined. However, in the often hard and brutal history of human competition 
and survival, there have been many times when loss — oppression and deprivation — has 
been forced upon peoples as something of an inheritance. 

For the principal topics of this book, American and global history of the twentieth 
century, the scripts for the modern world have been many. They have been sweeping, 
overlapping, paradoxical, and antithetical. There have been both well-defined and 
amorphous narratives for recurring wars, for comparative national industrial and 
scientific development, for comparative forms of liberalism, authoritarianism, 
totalitarianism, capitalism, socialism, anarchy, nationalism, and imperialism, and for at 
least several distinct episodes of genocide. Modern history, dominated by ideologies, 
mass movements, demagogues, and icons, as well as the stolid institutions and 
technocratic knowledge systems of machine-driven societies, has still organized itself 
through scripted narratives. The First World War propelled military organizations as well 
as entire national cultures against one another. Fierce nationalist passions and enormous 

^^Steiner, Scripts People Live; Berne, What Do You Say after You Say Hello?; Alfred Adler, 
The Pattern of Life, rev. ed. (1930; reprint, Chicago: Alfred Adler Institute of Chicago, 1982); 
Harry Stack Sullivan, The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry (New York: Norton, 1953). 

^ Vera Schwarcz, Bridge across Broken Time: Chinese and Jewish Cultural Memory (New 
Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998); Diane Barthel, Historic Preservation: Collective Memory 
and Historical Identity (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1996); Charlotte Tacke, ed., 
1848: Memory and Oblivion in Europe (New York: P.IE.-P. Lang, 2000); Arthur G. Neal, National 
Trauma and Collective Memory: Major Events in the American Century (Armonk, NY: M. E. 
Sharpe, 1998); Klaus Neumann, Shifting Memories: The Nazi Past in the New Germany (Ann 
Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000). 

" Wilson, Consilience, 163. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

reserves of military assets coalesced in a mixture of anarchy and preplanned military 
movements. Political scientists and historians have delved deeply into every aspect of the 
conflict, but in the last analysis, the clash of armies and national ideologies was scripted 
by the dynamics of European history. The Great War, like its successor and earlier 
conflicts, was a narrative constructed by the national scripts of the European state 



Scripts at all levels were the constructive components of twentieth-century 
international history, building order in apparent chaos. Clearly, as we shall explore in this 
monograph. Hitler had a script, and so did Woodrow Wilson, Lenin, Stalin, Churchill, 
Roosevelt, Ho Chi Minh, Mao Zedong, Tojo, Hirohito, and all manner of international 
leaders who shaped the world's modern political map. There were scripts and a 
metascript that led to the First and Second World Wars and the Cold War. The scripts of 
nations, their leaders, and the regional and international systems governed the Korean 
War, the Vietnam War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin Crises, Grenada, and the 
Gulf War, to name a broad swath of important crises and wars. The American army took 
its script to Vietnam, and then, greatly restructured, the script went to the Persian Gulf 
nearly a quarter of a century later. In the last analysis, irrespective of its material culture, 
the twentieth century was no different than any other period in world history. The script, 
a narrative structure connected to the needs and conflicts of historical actors, remained 
the paramount device for human societies to organize individual and collective actions. 
The interrelations between scripts have been the stuff of professional historical 
scholarship and modern social science.^' 

The American script combined science and capitalism into an institutional and 
epistemological system connected to the nexus of ideas, customs, and laws of liberal 
constitutional rule. The redeemer nation would, with some significant exceptions, always 
see itself in this light, even if its actions belied its self-definition. The national script 
followed its soldiers into war, providing unity and determination in one conflict after 
another, from the American Revolution to the beginning of the Vietnam War. Scripted 
ideas of national interest and moral rectitude followed the United States through its 
suppression of the Philippines in the early 1900s and the occupation of Central American 
republics, not only during the first decades of the century but also in the 1980s during the 
Reagan administration. Further, even the dissident responses to the government's script. 

For nationalist passions that triggered the war, see Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August 
(New York: MacMillan, 1962); Jeffrey Verhey, The Spirit of 1914: Militarism, Myth and 
Mobilization in Germany (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Mark Hewitson, 
National Identity and Political Thought in Germany: Wilhelmine Depictions of the French Third 
Republic, 1890-1914 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000); Eugen J. Weber, Nationalist 
Revival in France, 1905-1914 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1959); Hubertus Jahn, 
Patriotic Culture in Russia during World War I (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995). 

The "script" is alternatively called "narrative" or "grand narrative" in historical literature. 
The social administrative and policy scientists refer to aspects of it as decision-making, group 
process, institutional memory, rational choice, game theory, role-playing, strategic planning, or 
other terms I understand as part of "technocratic " knowledge. 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

namely, the antiwar movements in American history, were equally scripted in their 
collective perceptions and responses. We can see this clearly in the anti-imperialist 
movements of the early twentieth century as well as in the peace movements of the Cold 

The same antiscript or "counterscript" was apparent in the rejection of American oil 
interests in the 1970s and during the Gulf War in 1990 by what constituted the American 
"left." The left counterscript included the American "green" movement of the last 
decades of the twentieth century, and the human rights activists who challenged the 
militarist policies of the officer corps and the conservative right. The American left, 
represented by a relatively small group of intellectuals and activists, was far weaker than 
its international counterparts but was committed to the defeat of the liberal technocratic 
metascript. The New Left acted with apparent conviction and passion, but, as with the 
nation-state, its activities were scripted collective actions. Whether we agree with the 
dissidents or not, the scripting was present, from the first to the last moments of protest 
and indignation." 

In this narrative, a metanarrative for the United States and the international community 
in the twentieth century, the script for the West is the liberal technocratic order. In that 
order, the United States shaped the narrative for scientific-industrial civilization within 
the cultural context of a settler society in the new world. It was a self-defined liberal 
society dominated originally by economic and political refugees from the British Isles. It 
was a nation formed by peripheral Celtic peoples (such as the Irish and Scotch-Irish), 
religious heretics, Puritans, Quakers, Catholics, and the losers of the English revolution, 
the Cavaliers of southern England. After centuries of nation building, the country reached 
its critical developmental role in the twentieth century. The liberal technocratic order, 
projected by the mission of the United States, the "redeemer nation," foisted Wilsonian 
ideas and institutions upon the world from the First World War on toward the end of the 
century. Under the liberal order, a machine-dominated and quantifiable political economy 

Robert L. Beisner, Twelve against Empire: The Anti-imperialists, 1898-1900 (New York: 
McGraw-Hill, 1968); Penny M. Von Eschen, Race against Empire: Black Americans and Anti- 
Colonialism, 1937-1957 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997); Charles Chatfield, ed.. 
Peace Movements in America (New York: Chicken Books, 1973); Charles DeBenedetti and 
Charles Chatfield, An American Ordeal: The Antiwar Movement of the Vietnam Era (Syracuse, 
NY: Syracuse University Press, 1990); Robert Drinan, Beyond the Nuclear Freeze (New York: 
Seabury Press, 1983); Robert Jay Lifton and Richard Falk, Indefensible Weapons: The Political 
and Psychological Case against Nuclearism (New York: Basic Books, 1982); Amy Kaplan and 
Donald E. Pease, eds.. Cultures of United States Imperialism (Durham, NC: Duke University 
Press, 1993). 

Christopher Lasch, The Agony of the American Left (New York: Vintage Books, 1969); 
Marty Jezer, Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 
1992), 93-171; Wini Breines, Community and Organization in the New Left, 1962-1968: The 
Great Refusal (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1989); Roger Kimball, The Long 
March: How the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Changed America (San Francisco: Encounter 
Books, 2000). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

and culture engaged the international system in the protection of Western parliamentarian 
rule as well as the capitalist structures of a market-oriented global economy.''^ 

Scripts: Dramaturgy and Human History 

Viewing history as theater was a theoretical framework that developed during the Cold 
War. The structure of this approach came out of diverse streams of postmodern social 
theory borrowed from the structure functionalism and behaviorism of early postwar 
American social science. Cultural anthropologists understood the theory implicitly, 
having recognized the principles of symbolic action in understanding human societies. 
Earlier in the century, the development of psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud established 
the framework in Western thought that rationality and irrationality were connected by the 
substrate of the unconscious mind. Like cultural anthropologists and psychodynamic 
psychologists, Freudian and neo-Freudian schools, including those who diverged into 
separate psychoanalytic theories, have all placed central importance on the semiotics of 
symbolism. Almost without exception they have understood human action as symbolic, 
ritualistic, and theatrical. The idea of scripts and human behavior is most particularly 
neo-Freudian or post-Freudian.' ' 

The dissident psychoanalyst Eric Berne, founder of the school of transactional 
psychology, was the leading exponent of the psychological script as the basis for therapy 
and diagnosis. In Berne's view, the life script thoroughly dominates all human 
interactions. Men and women are nothing but executors of the personal destiny that has 
been scripted for them by their parents and, in the larger view, by their grandparents and 
great-grandparents. From the perspective of Bernian script theory, the world is an infinite 

Arno J. Mayer, Politics and Diplomacy of Peacemaking: Containment and Counterrevolution 
at Versailles, 1918-1919 (New York: Knopf, 1967); Lloyd E. Ambrosius, Woodrow Wilson and the 
American Diplomatic Tradition: The Treaty Fight in Perspective (New York: Cambridge University 
Press, 1987); Knock, To End All Wars; Ninkovich, The Wilsonian Century; A'. Gordon Levin, 
Woodrow Wilson and World Politics: America's Response to War and Revolution (New York: 
Oxford University Press, 1968). 

Alfred Adler, "Individual Psychological Treatment of Neuroses" (1913), in Theory of 
Individual Psychology (Boston: Littlefield, Adams, 1973), 32-50; Loren Gray, Alfred Adler: The 
Forgotten Prophet: A Vision for the 21st Century (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998), 8-27, 83-103; 
Sullivan, The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry, 158-71, 367-84; Berne, What Do You Say after 
You Say Hello? 110-34, 244-98. The idea of a life plan or script was found in the thought of 
Alfred Adler and Harry Stack Sullivan. Further, Carl Jung's concept of archetypes parallels the 
idea of scripts guiding different levels of human interaction. Jung's complex theory of human 
behavior, however, lends itself to cosmology and a biological determinism. Nonetheless, his ideas 
have been especially influential in the humanities. See Karin Barnaby and Pellegrino D'Aciemo, 
eds., C. G. lung and the Humanities: Toward a Hermeneutics of Culture (Princeton, NJ: Princeton 
University Press, 1990) and Richard M. Gray, Archetypal Explorations: An Integrative Approach 
to Human Behavior (New York: Routledge, 1996), 185-249. However, Eric Berne, originator of the 
methods and theories of transactional analysis, fully developed the concept of a life script and an 
operative system of "ego states " which maintain it. 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

stage for the dramatization of life scripts. Individuals, despite their claims of agency, 
remain actors compelled by powerful unconscious motivations to speak their lines in 
personal and group dramas. They have almost always followed the scripts assigned to 
them, ensuring that their lives would meet the real expectations of their parents.'''* 

The psychoanalytic or transactional view of scripts has remained largely focused on 
the level of the individual. In anthropology, scripted actions have been understood within 
the context of cultures or cultural systems. From this perspective, cultures in their totality 
are the independent actors. Social roles, which all individuals have been assigned, are 
defined by semiotic systems. These systems of meaning, in turn, relate to the economic 
and political structures of society. So, in Clifford Geertz's nineteenth-century Balinese 
theater state Negara, the rules of social intercourse and engagement were established by 
the scripted dramaturgy of the state." When Westerners invaded the traditional Balinese 
state, it ceremoniously committed suicide. The structure of Balinese society collapsed 
with the destruction of the elaborate rituals that were only possible within a self- 
contained cultural system. The important notion to me, as a modern international 
historian, is the depth of social control exercised by the belief systems that were found in 
that premodern society. It would appear to be supreme arrogance on the part of secular 
modern societies to believe that they established a less constructed or freer culture than 
that found in pre-Western Bali. What was true for non-Western preindustrial society in 
Indonesia should also be valid for Western cultures before and after the Enlightenment. 
Therefore, the concept of human agency becomes deeply problematic. Free will, a 
concept peculiar to the European Enlightenment, appears in all likelihood to be an 
illusion. Self-efficacy, individual autonomy, and similar notions are products of 
contemporary Western and specifically American culture, and in all likelihood they do 
not exist. Individuals cannot be autonomous agents of social change. What may appear as 
volitional, is, when understood historically, not volition but the working out of narrative 
linked to the collective scripts of a society." 

The universality of life scripts suggests that they have been responsible for framing the 
psychological dimensions of reality for individuals in every part of society, without 
exception, even at the highest levels of human organization. In effect, the same principles 
of scripted behavior should apply whether the individuals in question are janitors or 
national security advisers to the president. In twentieth-century American history, 
transcripts and other documentation relating to the Cuban Missile Crisis and American 
intervention in Vietnam show the scripted basis for the institutional culture of national 
security." In both cases from the 1960s, falling only three years apart, careful historians 

Berne, Beyond Games and Scripts, 166-69; Steiner, Scripts People Live, 55. 
'Geertz, Negara: The Theatre State in 19th Century Bali (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University 
Press, 1981), 121-36, and "Ideology as a Cultural System, " in Interpretation of Cultures, 193-233. 
''''Geertz, Negara, 12-13. 

"Mary S. McAulijfe, ed., CIA Documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 (Washington, DC: 
History Staff, Central Intelligence Agency, 1992); Laurence Chang and Peter Kornbluh, eds.. The 
Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962: A National Security Archive Documents Reader (New York: New 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

can see the methodical and predictable responses of the actors. In the recorded meetings, 
the high drama of Cold War foreign crisis enveloped the dialogues. When reading the 
verbatim transcripts relating to the October 1962 crisis, and those from the July 1965 
conference on Vietnam, it becomes clear that the decision-making process in both cases 
was a framework built around an emotional and cognitive universe that virtually smelled 
of predetermination. The missile confrontation presented a nuclear stalemate, a balance 
of terror that had to be resolved through the correct face-saving compromises made by 
the American president and the Soviet leader. Likewise, in summer 1965 discussions to 
approve the expanded ground war in Vietnam, a similar stalemate occurred. It resulted in 
a hard compromise between the separate policy ideologies governing U.S. response. The 
dilemma over Vietnam not only mirrored the stalemate over Cuba three years earlier, but 
also the political and strategic locking of horns at the international level. The script that 
was working in the domestic sphere was also working to bring all of the national actors — 
North and South Vietnam, China and the Soviet Union, and the United States — into a 
collective narrative, albeit a tragic one, for the Vietnam War.^^ 

In the drama particular to American presidential decision-making, scripts have always 
been found neatly circumscribing the actions of individuals caught in the historical 
moment. Was Harry Truman acting out of free will when he ordered the dropping of the 
atomic bombs on Japan in 1945? Or when he ordered American soldiers into South Korea 
in 1950? Clearly, historians point to causes beyond the level of the executive function in 
government. Truman's actions were circumscribed by the political and cultural context of 
his time and place. The containment system that began with his presidency was the 
product of more than Harry Truman. Truman did not write the national security 
documents that planned the implementation of containment doctrine to circle the globe. 
He did not, for example, write NSC 68, which defined the structure of containment just 
before the start of the Korean War. Yet, the question remains for some whether 
individuals may still exercise insight and decisions that overcome the rigidities of 
bureaucratic determinism.^' 

Were other political leaders of the last century acting freely, or were they scripted by 
their roles within the larger cultural universe prescribed by their time and place? Did 
Hitler build National Socialism in Germany out of his personal agency for an aggressive 
antiliberal, anticommunist nationalist movement, or were his particular vision and evil 
designs quintessentially an outcome predicted by German and European history? The 
argument here is that scripts communicate with each other through personal and 

Press, 1998); Anatoli I. Gribkov and William Y. Smith, Operation ANADYR: U.S. and Soviet 
Generals Recount the Cuban Missile Crisis (Chicago: Edition q, 1994); Zelikow and May, The 
Kennedy Tapes; Schwab, Defending the Free World, 192-210; Beschloss, Reaching for Glory; The 
Pentagon Papers.- The Defense Department History of United States Decision-Making on Vietnam, 
5 vols.. Senator Gravel ed. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971). 

^^Zelikow and May, The Kennedy Tapes; Schwab, Defending the Free World, 154-69. 

^^Leffler, Preponderance of Power, 313-14; Cumings, The Roaring of the Cataract, 177-82; 
Hogan, A Cross of Iron, 265-314. 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

collective mediums of exchange. An individual's life script is subliminally connected 
with the scripts of others. To a large degree, individuals must respond to the scripts of 
others within primary social groups such as family units and peer groups. Group scripts 
in turn connect in many ways to the collective scripts found at higher levels of political 
and social organization. Individuals, therefore, respond to scripted environments through 
multiple levels of interaction or synchronization. Adolf Hitler followed a script that 
placed him at the head of a movement that projected his vision of National Socialism to a 
German nation trapped in its own self -realizing national script. Hitler's life script shaped 
and responded to different levels of the state and society that he was instrumental in 
creating. The Nazi script placed him on a path to personal and national catastrophe. Yet, 
he followed it to the letter. In turn, the German nation coalesced around the narrative for 
National Socialism, which fulfilled certain essential needs but was ultimately, according 
to the pathological designs of Nazism, a path to the destruction of German society. ^'^ 

In all societies there are levels of scripts, organized by the cohesive and codetermining 
qualities that apply to most human behavior. In the last analysis, historical narrative 
structures control most of what happens, not only to individuals but to families, 
institutions, societies, and civilizations. In all societies, there are synchronous means of 
communication that unite the workings of different levels of social and political 
development. This was evident not only in the rigid authoritarian formalism of Nazi 
Germany, but even in the anarchic social environments of liberal societies, such as 
existed in the United States during the twenthieth century, among other places. Scripted 
patterns of interaction govern the social systems of common folk who know nothing of 
great power politics, and of the elites who inhabit high government positions and 
university posts. Franklin Roosevelt's approach to the international system was shaped by 
a bevy of advisers and political allies; yet, the essential orientation and methods of his 
foreign policy, like those of his predecessors and successors, mirrored the strategic and 
ideological designs of American internationalism, provided by the national script. 
Roosevelt gave the famous "Four Freedoms" speech; he also founded the United Nations 
and established American power in the wake of the Axis threat. Yet, these tasks were all 
but predestined. The institutions and group interests that defined American 
internationalism defined Franklin Roosevelt as well. The script for his foreign policy was 
embedded within the dynamic structure of the American script. In turn, that script was an 
agent for the larger metascript of the West.' ' 

Levels of scripted meaning and behavior are deeply embedded within the cultural 
semiotics of even the most scientific and rational of national groups. Whether we are 

William L. Shiver, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A 
History of Nazi Germany (Greenwich, CT: Fawcett, I960}; Bevin Alexander, How Hitler Could 
Have Won World War II: The Fatal Errors That Led to Nazi Defeat (New York: Crown, 2000). 

' Warren Kimball, The Juggler: Franklin Roosevelt as Wartime Statesman (Princeton, NJ: 
Princeton University Press, 1991); Robert Dallek, Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign 
Policy, 1932-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979); Townsend Hoopes and Douglas 
Brinkley, FDR and the Creation of the U.N. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

speaking of Western or non-Western, secular, theocratic, capitalist, or socialist political 
systems, the mechanisms for sustaining order and providing agency are found within 
national scripts and the metascripts for civilizations. All the emotional and cognitive 
elements for national reproduction, survival, and expansion are found within the 
sophisticated psyches of national statesmen. The political actors may conduct 
subvocalized and often subliminal dialogues with the rooted concepts of their 
dramaturgy. Anthropologists have observed the coordination of scripted behaviors in 
non-Western preindustrial cultures and modern Western cultures alike. Almost like a 
dance, rituals mark the way individuals communicate. The same logical patterns of 
scripted drama are developed at the highest levels of institutional leadership within 
national cultures.'^ Whether the actor was John F. Kennedy lecturing to the public on 
lofty ideals, or the holder of the movie camera in Dealy Plaza, when the bullets shot 
through the air, triumphal narrative as well as tragedy illuminated the lives of people. In 
both cases, from the perspective of the hero or the spectators, the theater of the 
assassination resonated with the national script. Kennedy's martyrdom fit the 1960s like a 
velvet glove. The political assassination of a beloved American president not only 
matched the poignant bittersweet age; in a broad sense, it created it.' ' 

Epistemologies: Knowledge Systems 

Along with scripts for human action must come a parallel cognitive architecture for the 
acquisition and organization of social knowledge. More precisely, cognitive systems 
support the scripted basis for all human behaviors. These systems, whether they are 
spoken languages or fields of advanced Western science, organize experience and attach 
meaning to an environment. A way of cognition, or "knowing," includes what historians 
and social scientists have termed variously as "ideologies," "belief systems," "modes of 
understanding," and "epistemologies." Each of these concepts has separate connotations 
to individuals. A common precept of social science is that cognitive differences have 
been definitive of all cultures, present and historical. Human knowledge, acquired 
through the context of culture and the human senses, has always been grounded in a 
particular milieu. Therefore, according to these suppositions, knowledge must be socially 
constructed. An epistemology, or system of knowledge acquisition, should always be 
understood as a unique, historically grounded mental construction of the world. To give a 

Poyatos, Advances in Non-Verbal Communication: Sociocultural, Clinical, 
Esthetic, and Literary Perspectives (Philadelphia: J. Benjamins, 1992); Horst Ruthrof, (New York: 
Cassell, 2000); Murray Edelman, Constructing the Political Spectacle (Chicago: University of 
Chicago Press, 1988); David I. Kertzer, Ritual, Politics and Power (New Haven, CT: Yale 
University Press, 1988); Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah, Culture, Thought, and Social Action: An 
Anthropological Perspective (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985); John Gledhill, 
Power and Its Disguises: Anthropological Perspectives on Politics (London: Pluto Press, 2000), 

" Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (Berkeley: University of California 
Press, 1996). 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

prominent example, 1950s American Cold War social science was based upon and 
organized by the social construction of reality in Cold War America. When the Cold War 
changed in the 1960s, the epistemological systems that organize experience changed in 
ways particular to the historical context of the cultural system/'' 

Technocratic knowledge concerns the cognition related to modern industrialism. It is 
particular to industrialized societies that have developed very complex ways of 
interpreting experience and controlling the vast industrial and communication networks 
that have emerged with industrial systems. Epistemology, a theory of knowledge, is an 
analytical term we may use historically to structure the variegated and dense ways in 
which modern societies organize knowledge. In my preferred usage, epistemologies are 
systems of knowledge, which means that they are active components of the construction 
of knowledge by individuals, groups, and societies. Technocratic epistemologies 
reference the quantitative knowledge systems of scientific and technical discourse. These 
systems expanded in the Western societies of the late modern period. Modern statistics, 
computer languages, analytical philosophy, accounting, and finance, as well as all the 
mathematically based physical, natural, and social sciences, are part of the Western 
technocratic epistemology." 

Epistemological systems, or fields of technically based knowledge, are the modern 
languages of professional elites. In the last century, physicians have become increasingly 
technocratic in their training and methods; so too have all professional business managers 
trained in the quantitative disciplines of business administration. Scientists, engineers, 
managers, and in effect the entire corps of knowledge-based labor became, during the last 
century, practitioners of the technocratic. The technocratic defined knowledge as a form 
of technology, namely, a resource for the management of society. That knowledge, in 
turn, defined institutions and the entirety of modern cultures. Technocratic epistemology 
shaped the "Machine Age," including the planning and production for the New Deal in 
the United States, socialism in the Soviet Union under Stalin, fascism in the fascist states. 

^ See Cumings, Parallax Visions, 173-204; Michael Latham, Modernization as Ideology: 
American Social Science and "Nation Building" in the Kennedy Era (Chapel Hill: University of 
North Carolina Press, 2000); Christopher Simpson, ed.. Universities and Empire: Money and 
Politics in the Social Sciences during the Cold War (New York: Free Press, 1998). 

^^Dorothy Ross, The Origins of American Social Science (New York: Cambridge University 
Press, 1991); Dorothy Ross, ed.. Modernist Impulses in the Human Sciences, 1870-1930 
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994); Theodore M. Porter, The Rise of Statistical 
Thinking, 1820-1900 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986); David Salsburg, The 
Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century (New York: W. 
H. Freeman, 2001); Alain Desrosieres, The Politics of Large Numbers: A History of Statistical 
Reasoning (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998); Steinar Strom, ed.. Econometrics 
and Economic Theory in the 20th Century (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998). Some 
early examples of the digital economy can be found in the 1960s quantitative literature; see George 
J. Brabb, Introduction to Quantitative Management (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968); 
Thomas H. Naylor, Computer Simulation Techniques (New York: Wiley, 1966). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

and, during the Second World War, institutional and epistemological systems for global 

So too, in increasing ways, the technocratic script for the liberal order and the Stalinist 
order organized the dimensions of the technocratic Cold War. The rivalry was not only 
ideological and material, but in the largest sense it was technocratic. Technocratic 
epistemologies built the Cold War, producing professional knowledge and institutions 
that drove the military, economic, and political events of the period. The imperative to 
orient science and technology toward the overriding objectives of Cold War management 
was consistent with the institutional and national scripts that defined the confrontation 
between the East and the West. The technocratic script enabled the building of the 
nuclear arsenals of the superpowers. It drove the development of the space programs and 
the revolution in information technology that ensued from the Cold War drive for global 
control and mastery. In sum, the technocratic epistemologies for social and administrative 
science controlled the major public and private institutional systems of the twentieth 

^ V. G. Afanasyev, The Scientific Management of Society (Moscow, Progress, 1971); R. 1. 
Kosolapov, Developed Socialism: Theory and Practice (Moscow: Progress, 1983); Nodari A. 
Simonia, Socialism in Russia: Theory and Practice (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994); Tom 
Bottomore, The Socialist Economy: Theory and Practice (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1990); 
John Bennett, The Economic Theory of Central Planning (New York: Blackwell, 1989); Avraham 
Barkai, Nazi Economics: Ideology, Theory, and Policy (New York: Berg, 1990); Kenyon E. Poole, 
German Financial Policies, 1932-1939 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1939); Otto 
Nathan, The Nazi Economic System (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1944); R. J. Overy, 
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1994); Theodore Rosenof, Economics in the Long Run: New 
Deal Theorists and Their Legacies, 1933-1993 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 
1997); Charles S. Tippetts and Shaw Livermore, Business Organization and Public Control (New 
York: D. Van Nostrand, 1941); Robert Solo, The Political Authority and the Market System 
(Cincinnati, South-Western, 1974); David M. Hart, Forged Consensus: Science, Technology, and 
Economic Policy in the United States, 1921-1953 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 
1998); Timothy Moy, War Machines: Transforming Technologies in the U.S. Military, 1920-1940 
(College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2001). 

Christopher Simpson: "Universities, Empire and the Production of Knowledge: An 
Introduction" in Universities and Empire, xi-xxx; Emerson W. Pugh, Building IBM: Shaping an 
Industry and Its Technology (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995); Kent C. Redmond and Thomas 
M. Smith, From Whirlwind to MITRE: The R&D Story of the SAGE Air Defense Computer 
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000); George B. Dyson, Darwin among the Machines: The 
Evolution of Global Intelligence (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1997); Office of Technology 
Assessment, U.S. Congress, Ballistic Missile Defense Technologies (Washington, DC: GPO, 
1985); Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress, Contributions of DOE Weapons Labs and 
NIST to Semiconductor Technology (Washington, DC: GPO, 1993); John M. Collins, Military 
Space Forces: The Next 50 Years (Washington, DC: Pergamon-Brassey's, 1989); Leslie, The Cold 
War and American Science. 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 


Modern science and engineering are two sides of the modernization pyramid. The third 
is the class of epistemologies related to the concept of the market. Like electric power 
generation or medicine or any form of intellectual technology, capitalist theory is a 
complex knowledge system. One might argue, as many economic and international 
historians have, that the discovery of market theory during the Enlightenment was the 
most critical development for late modern history. The entire Western framework for the 
scientific and industrial revolutions of the nineteenth century was developed under 
capitalism. The theories and practices of capitalism effected the industrialization and the 
geographic expansion of European civilization.^^ 

As technocratic epistemology, capitalism consists of a panoply of related doctrines and 
institutional arrangements that govern the methods and protocols for modern markets and 
market institutions. The "technic" for business created the international markets and the 
modern international corporate institutions that dominated the global economy from the 
nineteenth and twentieth centuries to the present. The disciplines of accounting and 
finance organized the control systems for institutions that have operated under market 
regimes designed by legal and economic doctrines developed over decades. The market, 
first "discovered" by British economists in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, 
became both an epistemology and an organizational system for control. The 
epistemologies for market institutions, that is, capitalism, generated information systems 
and practices oriented toward prices and costs, the quintessence of all market knowledge. 
In the twentieth century, with their distribution of power and status as well as goods and 
services, markets at all levels of society, domestic and international, began to shape the 
entire nature of human cultures. In effect, the market organized the nonsocialist world 
through the distribution of complex information about needs and the comparative value 
of resources." 

Market culture, as discussed, began in the early modern period of European history. 
Markets developed coterminously with the industrial revolution of the eighteenth century. 
As the new commercial medium became dominant, it soon supplanted the feudal culture 

^ Alan K. Smith, Creating a World Economy: Merchant Capital, Colonialism, and World Trade, 
1400-1825 (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1991); Joyce Appleby, Economic Thought and Ideology 
in Seventeenth Century England (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1978); Immanuel 
Wallerstein, The Second Era of Great Expansion of the Capitalist World Economy, 1730-1840s 
(San Diego: Academic Press, 1989); James Foreman-Peck, A History of the World Economy: 
International Economic Relations since 1850 (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1995). 

' Philip Armstrong, Capitalism since 1945 (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1991); Makato Ito, The 
Basic Theory of Capitalism: The Forms and Substance of the Capitalist Economy (Totowa, NJ: 
Barnes & Noble Books, 1988); George Reisman, Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (Ottawa, 
IL: Jameson Books, 1996); Martin J. Osborne and Ariel Rubinstein, Bargaining and Markets (San 
Diego: Academic Press, 1990). For an example of management science, see Peter C. Bell, 
Management Science/Operations Research: A Strategic Perspective (Cincinnati: South-Western 
College Publishing, 1999). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

of Western Europe. From this, it follows that the American Revolution was not only a 
political transformation; it was also a cultural change of historic proportions. That 
cultural transformation revolved around a formidable change or revolution in economic 
means, namely, a "market revolution."*" The American colonies wanted freedom not only 
from British political institutions but also from the mercantilist practices of the empire. 
The market revolution in America, as Charles Sellers has investigated in his work on the 
Jacksonian era, created a thoroughly capitalist society in America. An industrialized 
market society had become the dominant cultural form in the United States by the mid- 
nineteenth century. By the twentieth century, the market had not only superseded the 
communal culture of an earlier agrarian age, it had come to thoroughly dominate the 
concept of culture in American society. By the time of the First World War and the 
dawning of the technocratic age, commercialism had become omnipresent. It was 
embedded in every aspect of life and consciousness. The market, in the form of mass 
society, mass production, and consumption, governed America as an ethos as well as an 
institutional system.*' 

The progressive era solidified American capitalism as a global force connected to the 
state as well as to multinational interests. The liberal technocratic state was born out of 
these changes of the second industrial revolution. It was a new, truly international state 
dedicated to the formation of global markets and nation-states capable of sustaining 
commerce and world peace. The advanced capitalist state incorporated new control 
mechanisms for regulating market regimes. The public and private sectors became 
codependent parallel systems for national development. As the nature of technology 
changed with communication, transportation, and the quantitative methods of twentieth- 
century information processing, market epistemology served the advanced capitalist state 
as well as the private sector. This meant that the industrial mobilization for the Second 
World War was dominated by the "organized capitalism" and mass production 
technology of American heavy industry. It also meant that industrial planning was 
orchestrated at the national level by the economic knowledge of government economists, 
who financed the war with income taxes and public debt.*' Further, during the Cold War, 
market epistemologies governed the development of large multinational corporations. 

Sellers, The Market Revolution. 

Ibid., 301-95. Also see Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, 325-47. 

David A. Hounshell, From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932: The 
Development of Manufacturing Technology in the United States (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins 
University Press); Mark Rupert, Producing Hegemony: The Politics of Mass Production and 
American Global Power (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995); Chris Freeman and Luc 
Soete, The Economics of Industrial Innovation (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1997); Sten Thore, 
The Diversity, Complexity, and Evolution of High Tech Capitalism (Boston: Kluwer Academic 
Publishers, 1995); F. M. Scherer, New Perspectives on Economic Growth and Technological 
Innovation (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1999). 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

which, according to a now vast literature on corporate internationalism, were essential 
actors in the shaping of the containment system.*^ 

From the First World War up to the contemporary period, capitalism, as a body of 
effective knowledge, has shown its efficacy as a planning system in many different and 
quite self-evident ways. The industrial sectors that transformed the twentieth century — 
energy, materials, transportation, services, and agriculture — have demonstrated steady to 
remarkable gains in productivity related to market forces. In almost every case, industrial 
leaderships were united in their advocacy for international markets. The provisioning of 
supply and demand on an international scale allowed for the integration of global 
economic resources. However, variations in the effectiveness of the use of such resources 
meant internationalization had mixed outcomes. In many countries and industries, 
globalization resulted in unexpected social and economic costs, borne usually by groups 
and individuals rather than the state. Nonetheless, both Keynesian and monetarist 
doctrines viewed markets as organizing economies according to basic principles that 
govern all economic behavior.** 

By the end of the Cold War, market ideology had overcome the socialist models of 
economic development. Socialism's crisis grew with the transition from heavy industry to 
service-based and so-called high-technology economic systems. The economic costs of 
discarding the market as a distribution method in favor of central planning became far too 
enormous to ignore. With the assistance of ideological appeals from Ronald Reagan, 
among others, the market was found to be paramount to the functioning of the economy 
and society. Throughout the world, socialist practices went into decline or became 
extinct. Clearly, the end of the Cold War did not spell the end of all forms of socialism, 
or even communism. However, the death of Marxism-Leninism at the very end of the 
Cold War gave a free hand to liberal capitalism. Throughout the world beyond North 
America and Western Europe, the epistemology of the market became an organizing 
knowledge system and ideology for development and growth. The liberal order used and 
produced knowledge around the concept of the market for the exercise of global order as 
well as development and growth.*' 

' Hogan, The Marshall Plan, 135-88; Thomas J. McCormick, America's Half-Century: United 
States Foreign Policy in the Cold War and After (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 
1995), 72-83, 125-44; Michael Schaller, The American Occupation of Japan: The Origins of the 
Cold War in Asia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985); Cumings, Liberation and the 
Emergence of Separate Regimes, 35-78, and Parallax Visions, 86-94, 205-26. 

^G. R. Steele, Keynes and Hayek: The Money Economy (New York: Routledge, 2001); Connell 
Fanning and David O Mahony, The General Theory of Profit Equilibrium: Keynes and the 
Entrepreneur Economy (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998); Edward J. Nell, The General Theory 
of Transformational Growth: Keynes after Sraffa (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998); 
Mary S. Morgan and Malcolm Rutherford, eds.. From Interwar Pluralism to Postwar Neoclassicism 
(Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998); Carl Walsh, Monetary Theory and Policy 
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998). 

^' William K. Tabb, Reconstructing Political Economy: The Great Divide in Economic Thought 
(New York: Routledge, 1999), 177-202; Steven Saxonberg, The Fall: A Comparative Study of the 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

During the most recent period of the postwar world, capitalism has continued to 
innovate through the technological revolutions of the early twenty-first century. 
Nonetheless, the crisis that fell upon the world with the events of September 11, 2001, 
suggested that the left's critique of capitalism, beginning with the socialists of the 
nineteenth century and continuing to the present, has a degree of validity. Clearly, the 
presence of both developed and grossly underdeveloped regions of the world, as well as 
class divisions within societies, points to the ongoing crisis of modernization or 
globalization in the post-Cold War epoch. ^"^ Despite unabashed ideological victory, the 
rationality of capitalist epistemology remained selective. As the socialist critique of 
capitalism has ably demonstrated, markets, by their very nature, have connected 
cosmopolitan ruling elites committed to their respective self-aggrandizements. A central 
political debate of the Cold War related to the whole concept of development. It is here 
that the "modernizationist" paradigm of mid-twentieth-century Keynesianism collided 
directly with the "underdevelopment" and imperialism models that were expounded by 
Marxists of every orientation.*' 

The ideological debate over development ran from the early twentieth century till the 
end of the Cold War. Even with the victory of the market in the 1980s and 1990s, a 
generation of left-wing social scientists continued to dissent. The epistemology of 
modernization, and in its later reincarnation, globalization, centered the Western 
metascript on the non-Western world. The collective logic of modernization survived 
ideological debates over its imperial nature. Instead of dying or transforming itself, as 
many critics believed would happen in the wake of the failure of the early Cold War 
development policies, the modernization paradigm maintained itself. Its mission in the 
script was clear: expand the technocratic corporate internationalism centered in the West, 
promote the cosmopolitan culture of liberalism, including individualism and 
consumerism, and bring the world together under the huge and diverse umbrella of 

End of Communism in Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Poland (Amsterdam: Harwood 
Academic, 2001), 67-126; Charles S. Maier, Dissolution: The Crisis of Communism and the End 
of East Germany (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997), 59-107, 290-303; Herbert 
Giersch, Privatization at the End of the Century (New York: Springer, 1997); Ivan Volgyes, "The 
Economic Legacies of Communism" in Ivan Volgyes and Zoltan Barany, eds.. The Legacies of 
Communism in Eastern Europe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), 42-54. 

^John Walton, Free Markets and Food Riots: The Politics of Global Adjustment (New York: 
Blackwell, 1994); Richard Harris and Melinda Seid, eds.. Critical Perspectives on Globalization 
and Neoliberalism in the Developing Countries (Boston: Brill, 2000); K. S. Jomo and Shyamala 
Nagaraj, eds., Globalization versus Development (New York: Palgrave, 2001); Arjun Appadurai, 
ed.. Globalization (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001); Miriam Ching Yoon Louie, 
Sweatshop Warriors: Immigrant Women Workers Take on the Global Factory (Cambridge, MA: 
South End Press, 2001). 

"Tabb, Reconstructing Political Economy, 177-202. 

^*John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, A Future Perfect: The Challenge and Hidden 
Promise of Globalization (New York: Times Books, 2000), 90-129; Kamran Mofid, Market 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

The epistemology of the post-World War II market system became part of the larger 
knowledge structure of the Cold War's national security state. Washington's Cold War 
doctrines used modernization theory as an essential aspect of global containment. To 
modernize meant to bring everything that was deemed "modern" to the "undeveloped" 
or, more euphemistically, "developing" countries outside of the West. In effect, 
modernization was Westernization or, in the terminology used here, "technocratization" 
of those nations, regions, and subregions that required integration into the containment 
structure. So, South Vietnam, beginning with the Eisenhower administration, was brought 
under the vigorous foreign aid regime of modernization and its alternative phraseology, 
"counterinsurgency."^' Western science, technology, and capitalism, agents of the 
Enlightenment and the American state, worked to build the Republic of Vietnam, as with 
other countries on the East Asian perimeter, into a Western-defined modern state. The 
epistemology of modernization shaped the economic, political, and military development 
of the South Vietnamese state. Of course, as we all know from history, the vast efforts of 
modernization and the machinations of American intervention did not, in the end, 
succeed in the ultimate objective of saving the state for the "free world." (South Vietnam 
fell to the North Vietnamese army in 1975.)'" 

Institutions: Organizational Systems 

A principal argument in this narrative relates to a functional thesis, namely, that a set 
of interrelated concepts makes sense with respect to modern times. Such concepts are the 
technocratic state, technocratic knowledge, and the technocratic script. I derived my 
concept of a technocratic view of history from, first, the primary sources I found in 
researching technocratic American society in the 1960s. One of the most important 
secondary sources was the work of Lewis Mumford, the great historian of technology. 
Mumford interpreted history as technology centered, with the idea of the "technic" 
synonymous with the machine. The machine metaphor was quintessentially his view of 
modern institutions. Machines perform work as an extension of human labor. Harnessing 
energy and material structures, they increase human productivity. In the modern 
corporation, Mumford saw the machine as becoming a destructive force. The Western 
machine, dedicated to the exploitation of nature, worked mercilessly to achieve its ends. 

Economy, Free Trade, Globalization and the Common Good (London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 2002); 
Virginia Haufler, A Public Role for the Private Sector: Industry Self-Regulation in a Global 
Economy (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2001), 105—22. 
Buoyant views on the efficacy of international trade under current globalization are found in the 
collection by Pierre Sauve and Robert Stern, eds., GATS 2000: New Directions in Services Trade 
Liberalization (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2000). 

D. Michael Schafer, Deadly Paradigms: The Failure of U.S. Counterinsurgency Policy 
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988); Schwab, Defending the Free World, 8-10, 40- 

^^ Schwab, Defending the Free World, 40-44; Latham, Modernization as Ideology, 59-67, 151- 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Capitalism and capitalist institutions, in Mumfordian critique, worked contrary to genuine 
human needs for egalitarianism and ecological protection. Undoubtedly, technocratic 
institutions are machines, in the sense that they are organized for the express purposes of 
order and control. Almost without exception they are hierarchical and authoritarian in 

Public and Private Systems 

All modern technocratic institutions share the essential objective of control. Control 
must be developed in the most effective manner, as measured by the standards of 
management developed for that institution and related ones. Control involves the 
management of environments and resources. The Department of the Army, as a 
technocratic organization, defines control with respect to its personnel, its weapons 
systems, and its integration and functions within the U.S. military establishment. Similar 
control structures define other national security institutions, both in the United States and 
internationally. Likewise, all national public institutions share common control methods 
and objectives, which are applications of policy science.'' 

Private institutions, such as profit-making corporations, also establish systems fo the 
control of resources and environments. The resources are most often human capital, and 
the environments are markets, as well as legal, regulatory, and political constraints. 
Multinational corporations, like nation-states, operate within the international 
environment. In this paradigm, both the institution itself and its environment are viewed 
as a planning domain. The essential objective for multinationals, like all technocratic 
organizations, has been to effect control in the most predictable and efficacious manner 
possible. Since this is not done by literary conventions, but by the application of 
management systems, the definition and quality of control must be quantified as precisely 
as possible. The modern corporation is driven to create order in its environment and to 
maximize its underlying objective, namely, profit. 

The result of this technocratic impetus over the last century has been the creation of 
the liberal technocratic order as a constellation of public and private institutional systems. 
During the twentieth century, the relationship between these two systems, loosely called 
the public and private sectors, was sometimes adversarial, sometimes cooperative, 
depending upon the institutional and national scripts involved. In global terms, 
multinational corporations and nation-states, irrespective of their national political 
systems, maintained generally cooperative business arrangements. Both the multinational 
corporation and the state, whether the state was France or Italy or socialist Cuba, China, 
or the Soviet Union, established mutually reinforcing relationships for the expansion of 
national and international markets. The liberal script expanded industrial trade steadily. 

Mumford, The Pentagon of Power, 230-377. 

Kenneth Allard, Command, Control, and the Common Defense (Washington, DC: National 
Defense University, 1996), 241-64; Joint Chiefs of Staff, Doctrine for Command, Control, 
Communications, and Computer (C4) Systems Support to Joint Operations (Washington, DC: Joint 
Chiefs of Staff, 1995). 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

through wars and revolutions, depressions and embargoes. ^^ The institutional script for 
the liberal order built capitalism around the world. From the heavy industry of the second 
industrial revolution to the information-dense products of the post-1960s computer age, 
the engines of corporate capitalism applied the technologies of manufacturing, marketing, 
and finance. The socialist world could never compete. '"* 

Capitalism expanded and generated enormous amounts of wealth. Yet, the distribution 
of wealth was not equal, either within the developed countries or in the vast 
underdeveloped regions. This was in part due to the nature of capitalism, and in part to 
the rejection of markets and the application of socialist economics by Third World 
countries. The liberal script built a huge and abundant economic system for the richest 
segment of the world's population, but it failed to control the vast increase in poverty in 
the Third World. This was the bane of the liberal order as the century ended. Despite the 
exponential powers of Western technologies, the political divisions of global poverty 
threatened serious disorder. Altruism was not built into the institutions of the liberal 
technocratic order. The Judeo-Christian script called for it, but the Western metascript 
had more to do with global rationalization and control than with the fulfillment of 
humanitarian goals. Only with the destruction of September 11 did the redeemer nation 
reorient, seriously, toward the goal of eradicating world poverty. Only when faced with 
the trauma and fear of a global war with the worst kind of terrorists did the elite culture of 
the nation-state move expeditiously to create a truly sustainable international order.'* 

John A. Mathews, Dragon Multinational: A New Model for Global Growth (New York: 
Oxford University Press, 2002), 21-48; Paz Estrella Tolentino, Multinational Corporations: 
Emergence and Evolution (New Yoric: Routledge, 2000), 421-46; Michael E. Porter, The 
Competitive Advantage of Nations (New York: Free Press, 1998); G. M. Hodgson, M. Itoh, and N. 
Yokokawa, eds.. Capitalism in Evolution: Global Connections — East and West (Cheltenham, UK: 
Elgar, 2001). 

Richard J. Hunter Jr., From Autarchy to Market: Polish Economics and Politics, 1945-1995 
(Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996); Simon Johnson and Gary Eoveman, Starting Over in Eastern 
Europe: Entrepreneurship and Economic Renewal (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School 
Press, 1995); Paul Hare and Junior Davis, eds.. Transition to the Market Economy: Critical 
Perspectives on the World Economy, 4 vols. (New York: Routledge, 1997). 

^'Gunnar Myrdal, The Challenge of World Poverty: A World Anti-poverty Program in Outline 
(New York: Pantheon Books, 1970), 341-85; Ted C. Lewellen, Dependency and Development: An 
Introduction to the Third World (Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey, 1995), 49-96; Gary S. Fields, 
Distribution and Development: A New Look at the Developing World (Cambridge, MA: MIT 
Press, 2001); Dwight H. Perkins, ed.. Assisting Development in a Changing World: The Harvard 
Institute for International Development, 1980-1995 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 
1997). For a libertarian critique of Keynesian development economics, see Doug Bandow and Ian 
Vasquez, eds.. Perpetuating Poverty: The World Bank, the IMF, and the Developing World 
(Washington, DC: CATO Institute, 1994); Deepak Lai and H. Myint, The Political Economy of 
Poverty, Equity and Growth: A Comparative Study (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 25-45. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

The Market and the Corporate "Machine" 

Markets and corporations are essential institutional systems for the technocratic age. 
Large modern corporations, endowed with accounting, statistics, and information- 
processing technologies, have been quintessentially technocratic institutions. Machinelike 
in most of their operations, they have sacrificed personable characteristics for the 
technocratic ethos of scientific order. The corporation has coexisted with the concept and 
physical reality of markets. In fact, both markets and corporations refer to interconnected 
material and analytical constructs. Both corporate and market institutions display 
enormous power through their respective abilities to communicate complex sets of 
information about economic value. The price mechanism common to all markets imputes 
value to all things defined by the market. The price of oil on global markets determines 
its economic value, which in turn has enormous consequences, economic and 

Through the twentieth century, the private corporation grew at a rate commensurate 
with the exponential expansion of global trade, consumption, and the evolution of 
Western technology. In purely statistical terms, the Western corporate machine grew 
virtually unfettered. As an institutional form, it built ever larger, more integrated 
multinational enterprises. From one decade and one generation to the next, with the 
exception of the Great Depression, the market systems of the liberal technocratic order 
prospered as conduits of wealth and information. They developed as transactional 
systems for the articulation of both human needs and power. International markets 
became the most powerful of global information systems, dominated by ever more 
sophisticated and complex transnational corporate institutions. Through vast expansions 
in the nature and means of markets, their fundamental natures and the script for the 
institution and epistemology of capitalism remained essentially unchanged. Capitalism as 
an ideology and as an institutional structure was virtually synonymous with the liberal 
order. Its corporate institutions were dedicated to their own continuous expansion and 
accrual of resources. Multinational corporations, as a very large corporatist literature 
suggests, were dedicated to the service of a global script for the West — a script in which 

For a mathematical analysis of market forces using modern microeconomic theory, see 
Franklin M. Fisher, Microeconomics: Essay in Theories and Applications (New York: Cambridge 
University Press, 1999); Donald Stevenson Watson and Malcolm Getz, Price Theory and Its Uses 
(Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1993); George Philip, The Political Economy of 
International Oil (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1994); John Backer, Petrotyranny 
(Toronto: Dundrun Press, 2000), 47-73; Jahangir Amazegar, Managing the Oil Wealth: OPEC's 
Windfalls and Pitfalls (New York: L B. Taurus, 1999), 10-47, 204-51; J. E. Hartshorn, Oil Trade: 
Politics and Prospects (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993); Siamack Shojai, ed.. The 
New Global Oil Market: Understanding Energy Issues in the World Economy (Westport, CT: 
Praeger, 1995); Gregory P. Nowell, Mercantile States and the World Oil Cartel, 1900-1939 
(Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1994); Simon Bromley, American Hegemony and World 
Oil: The Industry, the State System and the World Economy (University Park, PA: Penn State 
University Press, 1991). 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

corporate institutions became embedded within the nation-state, influencing state policies 
as well as transcending the state itself.'^ 

In The Age of Extremes, Eric Hobsbawm's synthesis of twentieth-century history, the 
corporate organizations of modern and postmodern industrialism became cardinal 
institutions in the West's metascript. European science and technology, that is, the 
technocratic epistemologies of Western thought, were spread throughout the world 
through the institutional devices of corporate capitalism. The interests of the West's 
grand narrative, the civilizing of the world, scripted capitalism to move aggressively 
outward from its bases in North America and Europe. Through a mixture of scientific and 
technological rationalism, the metascript fashioned private corporations as primary 
institutional forces. Their collective organizational mission was entirely consistent with 
the West's preternatural path of expansion. Why was this the script? The core of the 
West's narrative lies within its original mission, its raison d'etre, whose origins lie in the 
millennia-old Judeo-Christian culture of European Christianity.'* 

The organizational architecture of the modern corporation has always been by design 
functional, rational, and utilitarian. Despite vast changes in technology, markets, and the 
material culture of the West since the nineteenth century, a corporation's modus operandi 
under capitalism has not changed at all. As discussed, the methods and purposes of profit- 
seeking corporate institutions have to do with the acquisition, planning, and control of 
markets and resources. Utilitarian methods and rationality have their origins not in 
Judaism and Christianity, but in the classical thought of Greco-Roman civilization. In 
fact, the source of all Western technical and scientific thought runs linearly from the 
classical thought of Plato, Aristotle, and the other distinguished Greek and Roman 
scientists and philosophers. Revived during the Renaissance and further developed during 

^Tolentino, Multinational Corporations, 23-138; Robert Gipin, Global Political Economy: 
Understanding the International Economic Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 
2001), 278-340; John H. Dunning, Alliance Capitalism and Global Business (New Yoric: Routlege, 
1997) and Global Capitalism at Bay? (New York: Routledge, 2001); Bijit Bora, "Tlie Role of 
Multinational Corporations in Globalizing the World Economy: Evidence from Affiliates of U.S. 
Multinational Companies, " in Amnon Levy-Livermore, ed.. Handbook on the Globalization of the 
World Economy (Northampton, MA: Elgar, 1998), 147-67; Alfred D. Chandler Jr., 
"Technological and Organizational Underpinnings of Modern Industrial Enterprise: The 
Dynamics of Competitive Advantage, " in James Foreman-Peck, ed.. Historical Foundations of 
Globalization (Northampton, MA: Elgar, 1998), 445-69; Knick Harley, ed.. The Integration of the 
World Economy, 1850-1914, 2 vols. (Brookfield, VT: Elgar, 1996). 

Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes, 257-86; Ralph C. Hancock, Calvin and the Foundations of 
Modern Politics (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989), 25-45; Peter Kaufman, Redeeming 
Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990); Phillip E. Hammond, The Protestant 
Presence in Twentieth-Century America: Religion and Political Culture (Albany: State University 
of New York Press, 1992); Robert R. Mathisen, ed.. Critical Issues in American Religious History: 
A Reader (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2001), 393^38. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

the Enlightenment and the industrial revolution, the utilitarian concept of the production 
of collective goods became the sine qua non of the technocratic age.'^ 

In the corporate machine, Aristotelian principles of rational control govern its 
technocratic architecture. Accounting and finance and other administrative systems honed 
for technical efficiency are the essential organizational and professional knowledge 
systems required for the survival of the firm. The convergence of culture and knowledge, 
organization and epistemology, characterize the corporate institution of the liberal order. 
In American capitalism, the synthesis came early in the nineteenth century; capitalism 
became multinational as the nation's interests and frontiers became global. Entirely 
consistent with the script, the West and capitalism moved outward. From the building of 
the Panama Canal and the monopoly-dominated corporate capitalism of the Progressive 
era, through the post-Cold War period, the expansion of Western corporate capitalism 
has been duly aggressive. 

According to Polyani's famous work on nineteenth-century capitalism. The Great 
Transformation, the international system in its entirety was structured by the rise of 
corporate capitalism. Market forces shaped not only war but also the peace that governed 
Europe.'"' The technocratic engine of corporate capitalism shaped the twentieth century 
through expansion. The compounded growth of the modern American economy, driven 
by heavy energy-intensive industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, 
created the behemoth of American power. America's oil industry, born in the mountains 
of Western Pennsylvania, had become a global force before the First World War. By the 
Second World War, petroleum was a vital element of military and industrial power. The 
international oil industry expanded into the Middle East and subsequently to every part of 
the world. Petroleum markets developed rapidly in the United States as consumers fed 
their appetites for a post-World War II society defined by abundance. The American 
political economy created vast suburbs around central cities and made the "highway 

David Roochnik, Of Art and Wisdom: Plato's Understanding of Techne (University Park, PA: 
Penn State University Press, 1996), 273-82; Reviel Netz, The Shaping of Deduction in Greek 
Mathematics: A Study in Cognitive History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); 
Jonathan Lear, Aristotle and Logical Theory (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980); 
Patrick H. Byrne, Analysis and Science in Aristotle (Albany: State University of New York Press, 
1997). The logical development of classical notions of science and techne can be found in recent 
quantitative models in management science and economics. See, for example, Anita Lee, 
Knowledge-Based Flexible Management Systems (FMS) Scheduling (New York: Garland, 1994) 
and W. Brian Arthur, Steven N. Durlauf and David A. Lane, eds.. The Economy as an Evolving 
Complex System II (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, Advanced Book Program, 1997). 

Walter LaFeber, "The Tension between Democracy and Capitalism in the American 
Century, " in Hogan, The Ambiguous Legacy, 152-82; Armand Mattelart, Multinational 
Corporations and the Control of Culture: The Ideological Apparatuses of Imperialism (Atlantic 
Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1979); Lee Tavis, Power and Responsibility: Multinational 
Managers and Developing Country Concerns (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 
1997), 126-65. 

Michael Polanyi, The Great Transformation (New York: Rinehart, 1944), 3-19. 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

lobby" of the 1950s a reality. By the late twentieth century, the United States had become 
the quintessential postindustrial society, an information economy fueled by the 
hydrocarbon energy systems of the transnational oil industry.'"^ 

As the global technocratic age blossomed, the American model spread to Western 
Europe and elsewhere. Capitalism's efficiencies were admired not only in the West, but 
also even in the communist camp, where "Fordism" helped the Soviet Union survive the 
Second World War. Despite the evident success of the American political economy, the 
modern progressive critique of the system remained intact. American critics of industrial 
capitalism perceived that there was a broad collusion of oil, steel, and automobile sectors 
in the creation of a profligate consumer society. Nonetheless, critics of the new private- 
sector technocracy, such as Galbraith, Harrington, Boulding, and Nader, saw their 
assessment eclipsed by the promise of even higher consumption, enabled by ever greater 
and greater sources of supply.'"^ Despite the oil crises of the 1970s, the American 
petroleum culture survived and indeed grew. Like all other modern capitalist industries, 
the international oil industry used the epistemologies of the firm, complex, and well- 
defined engineering and administrative knowledge systems to build its global regime. To 
remedy its problems, the postindustrial world of the middle and late Cold War period 
relied increasingly on the established scientific and technical cultures. '"'* Aristotelian 
technocratic knowledge drove the institutional systems of capitalism and the capitalist 
state. However, the corporate culture, based so much on the technocratic, was also 
connected to the Judeo-Christian mission of the United States. With the exception of a 
brief period at the turn of the century when the populist creed was influential, the 
expansion of capitalism was always viewed by American elites as coterminous with 
American redemption. Spreading the market also meant the diffusion of democracy. The 

'"^Anthony Sampson, The Seven Sisters: The Great Oil Companies and the World They Shaped 
(New York: Cornet, 1993); Nowell, Mercantile States and the World Oil Cartel, 223-79; Stephen 
Howarth, A Century in Oil: The "Shell" Transport and Trading Company, 1897-1997 (London: 
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997); Robert Engler, The Brotherhood of Oil: Energy Policy and the 
Public Interest (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977); Robert Caro, The Power Broker: 
Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (New York: Vintage Books, 1975), 895-958. 

For Cold War— era critical political economy, see, for example, John Kenneth Galbraith, The 
Affluent Society (London: H. Hamilton, 1958) and The New Industrial State (Boston: Houghton 
Mifflin, 1967); Ralph Nader, Mark Green, and Joel Seligman, Taming the Giant Corporation (New 
York: Norton, 1976); Michael Harrington, The Other America: Poverty in the United States (New 
York: Macmillan, 1962); Kenneth Boulding, A Reconstruction of Economics (New York: Wiley, 
1950) and Ecodynamics: A New Theory of Societal Evolution (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1981). 

Eliezer Geisler, Methodology, Theory, and Knowledge in the Managerial and Organizational 
Sciences: Actions and Consequences (Westport, CT: Quorum, 1999); Bernard Taylor, Introduction 
to Management Science, 7th ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002); Samuel Humes, 
Managing the Multinational: Confronting the Global-Local Dilemma (New York: Prentice Hall, 
1993); George Stonehouse, Global and Transnational Business: Strategy and Management (New 
York: Wiley, 2000). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

liberal technocratic ideology was anchored upon this precept, and it worked from the 
1940s through the 1990s. '°^ 

In international corporate capitalism, American nationality encountered the 
technocratic order directly. National interests, defined by the national script, coalesced 
with the technocratic agenda of the supranational firm. The technocratic basis of political 
economy merged with and was subsumed under the national script for redemption. The 
corporate machine both acquiesced with and advanced through the actions of the state. In 
its confrontation with OPEC over geostrategic control of the Persian Gulf in the 1970s 
and 1980s, "Big Oil" had political clout, but so did its rivals. Since the price of gasoline 
went directly to the public's wallet, anti-oil politics was easy to mobilize. Big Oil's script 
was matched to the scripts of public interest groups that attacked the international 
petroleum industry on the grounds of its general legitimacy. It was not hard for the 
neopopulist script, which resonated with environmentalists and other interest groups, to 
argue that a greater public interest existed in decoupling the energy industry from its 
position of power within the state. The public interest found in the national script was 
premised upon the preservation of the national image of liberty and egalitarianism. It was 
America's self-concept that it was God's redeemer — that the mission of America and 
Americanism was to build a society which would establish a new Zion dedicated to 
egalitarian freedom and prosperity. Lacking a more direct connection than freedom of 
capital. Big Oil, like "Big Tobacco" and other ostensibly formidable corporate powers, 
had to submit itself to public opinion.'"^ 

Populist opposition to big business has had a long tradition in American politics. It was 
a constant theme of twentieth-century America that powers far greater than could be 
easily imagined or understood controlled American society from above. Therefore, it was 
incumbent upon the national leadership to take measures continuously to check the 
growth of corporate and government powers that militated against a populist conception 
of American society. The machinelike nature of the modern corporation violated the 
essential concept of freedom. Yet the corporation was invaluable to the development of 
national power. The Western metascript and the American national script conflicted on 
the nature of Americanism. 

In the end, however, the American script incorporated the corporate machine. The 
redeemer nation would find salvation in its globalism. The various "corporatist" 

'"^Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962); 
Irving Kristol, Two Cheers for Capitalism (New York: Basic Boolcs, 1978); David McClelland, The 
Achieving Society (Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand, 1961); Julian Simon, Effort, Opportunity, and 
Wealth (New York: Blackwell, 1987); W. W. Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth: A 
Noncommunist Manifesto (London: Cambridge University Press, 1960); Peter Drucker, Marketing 
and Economic Development (Philadelphia: American Marketing Association, 1957); Kim Ezra 
Shienhaum, American Shockwave: Entrepreneurial Capitalism and Its Global Impact (Westport, 
CT: Praeger, 2002). 

'"^Engler, The Brotherhood of Oil; Sampson, The Seven Sisters, 269-82; Bromley, American 
Hegemony and World Oil, 124-62. 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

treatments of twentieth-century U.S. foreign relations are quite accurate in their 
assessments. For most of the century, the institutional structures of the corporate and 
government sectors coexisted in a collaborative effort to expand their mutual interests."" 
Energy, transport vehicles, telecommunications, information technology, management 
consulting, investment and commercial banking, pharmaceuticals, and agribusiness, as 
well as aerospace and other defense-related industries, to name the most important 
sectors, engaged in the vast enterprise of market integration or globalization that typified 
the technocratic age. By the end of the Cold War, the intellectual and capital resources of 
major multinational corporations far exceeded those of potential rivals from the socialist 
world or the public sector under global liberalism. The liberal technocratic order linked 
the state and the corporation in a matrix not only of power and mutual interest, but also of 
shared epistemological foundations. It evolved an elite culture of legal code and 
administrative science, along with scientific and technical knowledge of human and 
physical systems that united strategic planning for the private with the public sector.'"* 

The "market script" has been most fully developed in the corporatist literature. The 
narrative for the world petroleum market bears directly on the technocratic order and the 
machinations of the liberal technocratic script. During the 1950s and 1960s, the orthodox 
period of the Cold War, the exploration, distribution, and production of Middle East oil 
advanced the mutual interests of Western economic and political elites. Oil's strategic 
value merged with its fundamental economic value to the Cold War economic system of 
the West. This became more and more apparent as Persian Gulf oil became a vital 
national security interest by the 1970s. The market for Middle Eastern oil became a basic 
factor in the global defense posture of the redeemer nation. The primacy of petroleum did 
not give the private-sector institutions controlling its distribution in the United States 
plenary control over public policy. However, the political economy of capitalism was 
"controlling" in the nature of the strategic response to a perceived threat to the Persian 

^Hogan, The Marshall Plan, 1-25; Emily Rosenberg, World War I and the Growth of United 
States Predominance in Latin America (New York: Garland, 1987) and Financial Missionaries to 
the World: The Politics and Culture of Dollar Diplomacy, 1900-1930 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard 
University Press, 1999); Mary Nolan, Visions of Modernity: American Business and the 
Modernization of Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 58-82; Robert F. 
Himmelberg, ed., Business-Government Cooperation, 1917-1932: The Rise of Corporatist Policies 
(New York: Garland, 1994); James Weinstein, The Corporate Ideal and the Liberal State, 1900- 
1918 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1968); Joan Hoff-Wilson, American Business and Foreign 
Policy, 1920-1933 (Boston: Beacon Press, 1973); Walter LaFeber, The American Search for 
Opportunity, 1865-1913 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995). 

Daniel Bromley, Economic Interests and Institutions: The Conceptual Foundations of Public 
Policy (New York: Blackwell, 1989); Frank Fisher, Evaluating Public Policy (Chicago: Nelson- 
Hall, 1995), 206^0; Beryl A. Radin, Beyond Machiavelli: Policy Analysis Comes of Age 
(Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2000), 109-29. 

'"^Jeffrey Record, The Rapid Deployment Force and U.S. Military Intervention in the Persian 
Gulf (Cambridge, MA: Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, 1983), 1-17; Bassam Tibi, Conflict 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

The same confluence of interests can be seen in the development of the U.S. 
information technology industry during the Cold War. High-speed computers were first 
conceived and financed before and during the Second World War for their potential 
military applications. The same linkage between research and application funded several 
more generations of computer systems as the Cold War created an insatiable demand by 
the government for data processing technology. The computer industry was financed 
through direct Department of Defense contracts for basic research in transistor and 
semiconductor electronics as well as purchases of generation after generation of 
processing systems needed to control the nuclear and conventional war systems of the 
Pentagon. By the 1970s, information science had become a core element of all advanced 
technologies, and by the 1990s, virtually the only element that defined high-level 

Over decades of technological revolution and industrial expansion, the list of 
technologies that linked the state with the private sector became nearly endless. With the 
"race to the moon," NASA's manned space program galvanized public opinion during 
the 1960s. Its large-scale engineering project connected directly to the Pentagon's 
strategic planning for the technocratic organization not only of outer space but also of the 
global environment in to to. Still, it was yet another very prominent example of the 
connection between public and private institutions within the technocratic narrative. 
Certainly, with respect to the dramaturgy of the Cold War, the landing on the moon was a 
fine moment. Neil Armstrong's remark upon becoming the first person to step on the 
surface of another celestial body, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for 
mankind," was made behind the institutional and political reality of that footstep. Once 
more, the act of an American astronaut and military officer setting his feet on the moon 

and War in the Middle East, 1967-91: Regional Dynamic and the Superpowers (New York: St. 
Martin's Press, 1993), 133—86; Robert J. Lieber, "Middle East Oil and the Industrial 
Democracies: In Conflict and Cooperation in the Aftermath of the Oil Shocks, " in Samuel F. Wells 
and Mark A. Bruzonsky, eds.. Security in the Middle East: Regional Change and Great Power 
Strategies (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1987), 217-35; U.S. Congress, House Committee on 
Foreign Affairs (Hearings) U.S. Interests in, and Policies toward, the Persian Gulf, 1980 
(Washington, DC: GPO, 1980); Zbigniew Brzezinski, In Quest of National Security (Boulder, CO: 
Westview Press, 1988), 177-79. 

Raul Rojas and Alf Hagen, eds.. The First Computers: History and Architectures 
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000); Paul E. Ceruzzi, A History of Modern Computing 
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000); Michael R. Williams, A History of Computing Technology 
(Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press, 1997); Steven Metz, Armed Conflict in the 21st 
Century: The Information Revolution and Post-modern Warfare (Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army 
War College, 2000); Stuart J. D. Schwartzstein, ed.. The Information Revolution and National 
Security: Dimensions and Directions (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International 
Studies, 1996). 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

and planting the American flag signified the technological, scientific, and organizational 
strengths of the United States as a global force in world civilization.'" 

Private contractors had built almost everything that the space program put into space. 
The technical knowledge that enabled the trip was acquired over several decades of 
research and practical applications in ballistics, fuel systems, data processing, and 
military coordination for launching and retrieving space vehicles. In strategic terms, the 
NASA program expanded the domain of the national security state. In political terms, it 
was a brilliant propaganda victory over the Soviets. It demonstrated to the international 
community the evident superiority of the American effort vis-a-vis the Soviets, and hence 
suggested capitalism's inherent superiority. Domestically, the moon landing buoyed 
American nationalism when it appeared deeply shaken by the Vietnam War."' 

At the level of the metascript, the technocratic narrative continued the expansion of 
the epistemological and institutional foundations of a global culture. The long view of 
history — notably, world systems theory — demands a perspective that understands state 
and corporate institutions as mere epiphenomena that express the underlying structural 
movements of the world's economic system. Clearly, the Western metascript was driving 
the multinational corporation in the direction of ever increasing global market power and 
control. The script for the redeemer nation imagined its corporate institutions as agents of 
an American-defined commercial world in which international branding held no bounds. 
As a matter of natural course, the multinational corporation and the public sector 
continued their political and intellectual collusion. The epistemological matrix for the 
West that developed new knowledge, specifically technocratic knowledge, survived the 
Vietnam War, and in the late Cold War it blossomed." ' 

The Reagan Revolution, which will be discussed in detail toward the end of this book, 
promoted a revitalization of the concept of the market. The power of the public sector 
was checked by a new ideological emphasis upon deregulating markets on a vast scale. 

Walter A. McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age 
(New York: Basic Books, 1985); Asif A. Siddiqi, Challenge to Apollo: The Soviet Union and the 
Space Race, 1945-1974 (Washington, DC: NASA, 2000); Robert Reeves, The Superpower Space 
Race: An Explosive Rivalry through the Solar System (New York: Plenum Press, 1994), 101-66; 
James Schefter, The Race: The Uncensored Story of America's Battle to Beat Russia to the Moon 
(London: Century, 1999). 

'"McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth, 412-13. 

" ^ Frederick Allen, Secret Formula: How Brilliant Marketing and Relentless Salesmanship 
Made Coca-Cola the Best-Known Product in the World (New York: Harper Business, 1994); Mark 
Pendergast, For God, Country, and Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft 
Drink and the Company That Makes It (New York: Basic Books, 2000); James L. Watson, ed., 
Golden Arches East: McDonald's in East Asia (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997); 
James Wallace, Overdrive: Bill Gates and the Race to Control Cyberspace (New York: Wiley, 
1997); Paul Andrews, How the Web Was Won: Microsoft from Windows to the Web: The Inside 
Story of How Bill Gates and His Band of Internet Idealists Transformed a Software Empire (New 
York: Broadway Books, 1999); Bob Ortega, In Sam We Trust: The Untold Story of Sam Walton 
and Wal-Mart, the World's Most Powerful Retailer (New York: Times Business, 2000). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Internationally, the Reagan message was consonant with the end of socialism, whether 
Marxist-Leninist or other versions, as a viable strategy for economic growth and 

During the Reagan era, the strength of pro-business doctrine in federal agencies was 
overwhelming. In the United States, business and public sector nearly became one. The 
interrelated and positive nature of the relationship between the American state and the 
multinational corporation was ideologically confirmed. The interlocking corporate and 
public-sector leaderships and the new Republican administration blurred the line between 
the state and the multinational corporation. In effect, asking if there was a difference 
between corporate interests and national interests was no longer a reasonable question. 
The production of technocratic knowledge for a new, aggressive American globalism that 
dually promoted military and economic expansion was sanctioned by Reaganite ideology. 
The New Left cringed at the resurgence of the radical right in American politics. 
However, this was all part of the narrative. With the end of the revisionist Cold War, the 
New Left as an ideological movement was moribund.'" 

The State "Machine": The "MUitary-Industrial Complex" or the 
"National Security State" 

At the height of the Cold War the United States devoted a tenth of its economic output 
to national defense. Peacetime budgets funded new weapons systems that revolutionized 
the nature of the balance of power. It seemed, and Eisenhower's farewell address stated 
so directly, that a "military-industrial complex" had emerged. President Eisenhower's 
warning is famous not only for its candor but for its encapsulation of the institutional 
history of the times. The description of a domestic conspiracy, involving the power elite 
(described by C. Wright Mills only a few years before), to threaten democracy with a 
permanent militarized state was striking and ironic. The most senior and distinguished of 
American generals and the outgoing president of the United States denounced the 
postwar institutionalization of a military production system deemed essential to the 

Margaretha von Trail, ed., Changing Paradigms in Development: South, East and West: A 
Meeting of Minds in Africa (Uppsala, Sweden: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, 1993); John A. James 
and Mark Thomas, eds.. Capitalism in Context: Essays on Economic Development and Cultural 
Change in Honor of R. M. Hartwell (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994); Richard M. 
Bird and Susan Norton, eds.. Government Policy and the Poor in Developing Countries (Toronto: 
University of Toronto Press, 1989); Dwight H. Perkins and Michael Roemer, eds.. Reforming 
Economic Systems in Developing Countries (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Institute for Economic 
Development, 1991); United States Agency for International Development, Mobilizing Local 
Resources for Economic Development in an Urbanizing Africa (Nairobi, Kenya: USAID, 1990). 

"^John P. Diggins, The Rise and Fall of the American Left (New York: Norton, 1992), 342-83; 
Stephen F. Hayward, The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order, 1964-1980 (Roseville, 
CA: Forum/Prima, 2001), 535-608; William C. Berman, America's Right Turn: From Nixon to 
Clinton (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), 60—118; John Ehrman, The Rise of 
Neoconservatism: Intellectuals and Foreign Affairs, 1945-1994 (New Haven, CT: Yale University 
Press, 1995), 137-72. 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

containment doctrine of the Cold War. In the ensuing decade of the Vietnam War, the 
more common term in popular discourse became the "national security state," whose 
connotation, equally demonic, suggested an integrated system of control over society for 
the purposes of imperial expansion. In fact, the national security state, or, to be more 
neutral, national security system or structure, was an accurate term for the multilayered 
global stratagems required of a world power. From the perspective of twentieth-century 
political, diplomatic, and military historians, whether the policies of often-Byzantine 
complexity were efficacious, moral, or strikingly immoral was beside the point. The 
concept of an institutional system devoted exclusively to the management of the totality 
of a world power's foreign relations remains a quintessential analytical device for 
international relations."^ 

The American national security state has its origins as far back as the mid-nineteenth 
century. However, it became a fully operational reality during the First World War. The 
necessity of projecting national power globally required the development of an 
institutional system that could integrate the production and strategic deployment of 
military resources as well as coordinate the political and diplomatic strategies attendant 
on a large-scale international war. The Wilson administration's national security regime 
did not reach the level of integration that later systems of the Second World War and the 
Cold War would reach. The Second World War was much longer and required even 
greater war mobilization than the First. Roosevelt's national security state not only took it 
upon itself to organize an entire society of more than 130 million people for war, but 
created the military and civilian institutions that sent the enormous armies, navies, and air 
forces of the United States into combat over the entire circumference of the earth's 

As a planning system, the Second World War's national security state reached 
impressive proportions. American planners were not only involved in every aspect of 
domestic war mobilization; they were also engaged in the coordinated political, 
economic, strategic, and tactical aspects of coalition warfare against the Axis powers. 

Hogan, The Marshall Plan and A Cross of Iron; Kurt Hackemer, The U.S. Navy and the 
Origins of the Military-Industrial Complex, 1847-1883 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 
2001), 137; Gary E. Weir, Forged in War: The Naval-Industrial Complex and American Submarine 
Construction, 1940-1961 (Washington, DC: Naval Historical Center, 1993); Sam C. Sarkesian, 
U.S. National Security: Policymakers, Processes, and Politics (Boulder, CO: Rienner, 1995); 
Stephen A. Cambone, A New Structure for National Security Policy Planning (Washington, DC: 
CSIS Press, 1998), 48-90; Carnes Lord, The Presidency and the Management of National Security 
(New York: Free Press, 1988); Amy B. Zegart, Flawed by Design: The Evolution of the CIA, ICS, 
and NSC (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999); David F. Rudgers, Creating the Secret 
State: The Origins of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1943-1947 (Lawrence: University Press of 
Kansas, 2000); Rhodri Jeffreys -Jones, The CIA and American Democracy (New Haven, CT: Yale 
University Press, 1998); Joseph J. Trento, The Secret History of the CIA (Roseville, CA: Forum, 

"'Kimball, The Juggler, 8-19; Dallek, Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

The machinelike qualities of the war's national security institutions built the largest array 
of weapons and weapons systems in the history of warfare. In less than four years, the 
United States built more than one thousand destroyer escorts, one hundred aircraft 
carriers, and three hundred thousand planes of all types. The quantity and types of 
military production, as well as their supply to the Allied coalition, remains a stunning 
example of wartime productivity."* 

In a real sense, the economic, political, and military institutions of the Second World 
War, not only in the United States but in all the major combatant nations, were 
machinelike. Battles and campaigns were fought and won by fierce fighting between 
infantrymen, sailors, and airmen who gave their lives, but the scope of the warfare was 
technocratic and industrial. The desperate assaults against enemy lines by starving armies 
and the horrific bombing campaigns conducted against civilian populations suggested the 
extreme privations and brutality of a conflict fought in "modern times." During the huge 
land battles on the German-Russian front, thousands of artillery guns shot 
simultaneously, barraging their adversaries with the lethality of industrial-age warfare. 
The attacks were systematic and repetitive as well as deadly.'" 

The point of analysis here is the nature of the warfare being waged. It was first and 
foremost a standoff between the comparative factory productions of the opposing nations. 
At the start of the war against Russia, the Germans swept into the Soviet Union with the 
high-quality military weapons produced by German factories. By 1943, the same German 
forces that had moved onto the great Russian plains with such ferocity in 1941 were 
thwarted at the battle of Kursk by Soviet forces now reinforced with far better weapons 
manufactured by the Soviets as well as their coalition allies. The Wehrmacht was beaten 
out of Russia and finally destroyed by the combined expeditionary forces of the United 
Nations. In victory, the national security states of the winners, the United States, Great 
Britain, and the Soviet Union, deployed their respective institutional assets to the task of 

Donald Marr Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy: The Story of American War Production (New 
York: Harcourt Brace, 1946); R. Elberton Smith, The Army and Economic Mobilization 
(Washington, DC: Department of the Army, 1959), 3-31; Robert Connery, The Navy and the 
Industrial Mobilization in World War II (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1951); Alan L. 
Gropman, Mobilizing U.S. Industry in World War II: Myth and Reality (Washington, DC: National 
Defense University, 1996); V. R. Cardozier, The Mobilization of the United States in World War II: 
How the Government, Military, and Industry Prepared for War (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1995), 

Allan Clark, Barbarossa: The Russian-German Conflict, 1941^5 (New York: William 
Morrow Books, 1965), 166-219; Omer Bartov, The Eastern Front, 1941-45: German Troops and 
the Barbarization of Warfare (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 106-41; Earnest Klink, 
"The Military Concept of the War against the Soviet Union, " in Institute for Military History, 
Germany and the Second World War, vol. 4, The Attack on the Soviet Union (Oxford: Clarendon 
Press, 1998), 223-325. 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

finishing the war against the Japanese and reconstituting the international system to 
match their own designs. '^'^ 

The global confrontation between capitalism and socialism created the institutional 
structure that generated a significant literature in the 1950s and 1960s. The military- 
industrial complex was the organizational basis for the epistemologies of the Cold War as 
it developed. The language of the American Cold War and the national security 
knowledge systems that shaped postwar physical science, engineering, social science, and 
the humanities, were connected physically and intellectually to the institutional complex 
of the Pentagon and what was known as the "Washington establishment." From 
Washington and the outlying centers of national security work, namely, major university 
centers, policy institutes, government laboratories, and war colleges, modernization 
theory, nuclear strategy, and space engineering and computer systems, along with 
counterinsurgency and conventional war doctrines, were developed into programmatic 
designs for global management.''' 

The national security state was instrumental in designing the path of American 
intervention in Vietnam. It structured the incremental deployments as well as the 
escalation and de-escalations of the Johnson and Nixon administrations. Surviving the 
war intact, the institutional framework for U.S. national security restructured during the 
last two decades of the Cold War. As the knowledge systems that governed the Cold War 
became more and more quantitative, the institutions responded commensurately. By the 
time Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, the epistemology of the Cold War had become 
ever more mathematical — that is, technocratic — in its applications. The Strategic Defense 
Initiative (SDI) was the apogee of the technocratic expansion of the Cold War. Its 
adoption represented the expanded prestige and funding that the formal and informal 
institutions of U.S. national security received in the wake of the Reagan presidency and 
the consequent reorientation of the American script. In the end, the national security state 
"won" the Cold War by developing a more effective technocratic system than the Soviets 
could hope to compete with.'" 

Gerhard Weinberg, A World at Arms: A Global History of WWII (New York: Cambridge 
University Press, 1994), 780-841; John Keegan, The Second World War (London: Pimlico, 1997). 
' Leslie Gelb and Richard K. Belts, The Irony of Vietnam: The System Worked (Washington, 
DC: Brookings Institution, 1979), 347-69; Perry Smith, Creating Strategic Vision: Long-Range 
Planning for National Security (Washington, DC: National Defense University, 1987); Amos A. 
Jordan, American National Security (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999); Geir 
Lundestad, "Empire" by Integration: The United States and European Integration (New York: 
Oxford University Press, 1998); Patrick De Souza, ed.. Economic Strategy and National Security: 
A Next Generation Approach (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2000); Michael E. Brown, ed., 
America's Strategic Choices (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000). 

Edward Reiss, The Strategic Defense Initiative (New York: Cambridge University Press, 
1992); Ashton B. Carter and David N. Schwartz, eds.. Ballistic Missile Defense (Washington, DC: 
Brookings Institution, 1984); Gary L. Guertner and Donald M. Snow, The Last Frontier: An 
Analysis of the Strategic Defense Initiative (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1986). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

In the immediate post-Cold War world, the institutional structure of American 
internationalism remained nearly unchanged. Clearly, the operational missions for 
national security changed with the restructuring of the international system. Yet, the 
Department of Defense, the State Department, the National Security Agency, and other 
key federal cabinet departments and agencies, as well as the whole private-sector 
labyrinth of connected institutions, maintained themselves as they were. The 
epistemology of the Cold War was deconstructed. No longer did the state attempt to order 
American society and global containment strategy to "defend the free world," as it did 
during the early Cold War and later. The emerging post-Cold War national security 
epistemology was far less focused on great power warfare. Instead, the neo-Wilsonian 
concerns of international development, democracy, and global cooperation gained 
legitimacy at the expense of the ideology of military realism. The death of communism 
and the parallel capitalist explosion of the 1990s coincided with the scientific revolutions 
in telecommunications, computer science, and human genetics. The new national security 
state had to deal with the new issues of the new age: globalization (i.e., modernization); 
terrorism; chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons proliferation; and endless 
internecine regional conflicts. The institutional challenge now was how to order a world 
that could not be ordered. How could the liberal technocratic regime of the developed 
world solve the immense problems of the undeveloped world? In the end, Marx and 
Lenin had lost to the market. But had the market won? The Washington establishment 
could only hope.'^'' 

The Scripts and Metascripts 

Scripts at all levels of human interaction must show certain degrees of plasticity. They 
cannot be static without risking failure and disappearance. Individual and collective 
narratives must be able to adapt to environmental change. Adaptive behavior will not 
usually change scripts in their entirety, to the point where the purpose of the script and 
the role of the actor are no longer recognizable. A Samurai warrior in Tokugawa Japan 
would not adapt his role by becoming a commoner or a convert to Christianity. To do so 
would mean the abandonment of his role in traditional Japanese society; he would, in 
effect, be replacing one script for another. However, the transformation of Japanese 
society, beginning with first the Meiji restoration of 1868 and then the American 

'^^Susan C. Stokes, Mandates and Democracy: Neoliberalism by Surprise in Latin America 
(New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 122-53; John L. Campbell and Ove K. Pedersen, 
eds., The Rise of Neoliberalism and Institutional Analysis (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University 
Press, 2001); Padraig Carmody, Tearing the Social Fabric: Neoliberalism, Deindustrialization, and 
the Crisis of Governance in Zimbabwe (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2001); Ankie Hoogvelt, 
Globalization and the Postcolonial World: The New Political Economy of Development 
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), 94—162; Priyatosh Maitra, The Globalization 
of Capitalism in Third World Countries (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996), 85-130; George 
DeMartino, Global Economy, Global Justice: Theoretical Objections and Policy Alternatives to 
Neoliberalism (New York: Routledge, 2000), 152-89. 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

occupation of 1945, was an immense adaptation of Japanese civilization to the West. Yet, 
despite the modernization and Westernization of its culture on a vast scale, the essence of 
Japan's scripted cultural narrative remained intact. This was so much the case that more 
than half a century after the American occupation, Japan was viewed as still quite 
surprisingly unassimilated to contemporary cosmopolitan Western culture.'^"* 

Where the script changes into its antithesis, as we see in the transformation of 
Germany's politics and culture after the Second World War, it may be surmised that the 
national script has been replaced by its diametric opposite, or counterscript. National 
scripts move through historical time capturing the elements of national identity and 
purpose from one generation to the next. There is almost always continuity in a nation's 
history, no matter how heterogeneous the society. Hence, the same patterns of success 
and failure that individuals experience revisit a nation as well. Sometimes, however, the 
script's path changes in response to critical events. An individual, group, or nation 
encounters an extraordinary event, and its impact restructures the narrative. Clearly, the 
German script changed with the outcome of the Second World War. Nazi militarism, 
racism, and extreme nationalism were stripped from public life and, in the Federal 
Republic, replaced with the social liberalism of postwar West Germany. The German 
counterscript, which still struggles with the lingering elements of the old Nazi one, 
recreated German society as a progressive liberal nation, determinedly self-conscious in 
its acceptance of war guilt and the legacies of Adolf Hitler.'" 

The German and Japanese scripts were but two of scores of national scripts altered, 
transformed, or destroyed by the Second World War. There were also the American, 
Russian, Chinese, Jewish, French, and Polish scripts, to mention some of the most salient. 
The major world conflict of the 1930s and 1940s affected all of these national scripts 
deeply and permanently. The Second World War organized the world into a metascript 
for the new convergence of the West with the remainder of the world's civilizations. 
Large-scale international wars, and indeed wars of all kinds, are most often 
transformational events. Major wars and economic crises work themselves into the scripts 
and metascripts of individuals, groups, institutions, nation-states, and civilizations. 
Collectively, the scripts of nation-states are connected within regional "conflict systems" 
or metascripts. Metascripts govern world history. They establish relationships among 
nation-states and lead them over centuries to an arranged path. Indeed, there does not 
have to be anything good or benevolent about them. The Jewish Holocaust was scripted 
over centuries, bringing European, Jewish, and world civilizations to converge on the 
tragedy of industrial genocide in Central Europe. The religious wars, invasions, and 

Ivan P. Hall, Cartels of the Mind: Japan's Intellectual Closed Shop (New York: Norton, 
1998); Patrick Smith, Japan: A Reinterpretation (New York: Pantheon Books, 1997). 

^Alfons Heck, The Burden of Hitler's Legacy (Frederick, CO: Renaissance House, 1988); 
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust 
(New York: Vintage Books, 1997), 27-79; Stephan and Norbert Lebert, My Father's Keeper: 
Children of Nazi Leaders: An Intimate History of Damage and Denial (Boston: Little, Brown, 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

catastrophic declines of civilizations, as well as the rise to glory of the same civilizations, 
are scripted through centuries and even millennia. However, this does not explain why 
and when scripts turn in one direction or another.'^'' 

In the modern Western metascript the turn of that script was connected not only to 
cataclysmic major wars, but also to much shorter but extremely intense crises. The 
phenomenon of crisis management and control as a vector for the larger dimensions of a 
country's collective narrative became more apparent after the Second World War, with 
the rising threat of nuclear Armageddon. Only then, with the emergence of a global mass 
media and the immediate possibility of nuclear holocaust, did the idea for critical 
moments in foreign or domestic policy become plausible. Television, an extraordinary 
invention for the communication of immediate visual images of the world, also magnified 
crises in the public's mind to an exceptional degree. One of the classic examples of this 
was the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.'" The technocratic age magnified the dimensions 
of mass communications and their impact upon the global and national narratives of the 
Cold War. In an age with both immediate public knowledge as well as public danger, the 
work of a crisis could affect the nature of international relations within days. A nation's 
script could turn on what was seen on television, and this happened often, from the Tet 
offensive of 1968 to the images of the Russian "White House" during the summer of 
1991. The Cold War and the immediate post-Cold War world were strewn with short and 
potentially catastrophic crises involving superpower confrontations. In foreign policy 
crises, the full dimensions of a script show themselves. Each of the many participants, 
whether they are national statesmen, government bureaucrats, members of Congress or 
Parliament, or senior military officers involved in the "fog of war," is connected to a 
transnational narrative. In the final analysis, national scripts are actually the collective 
actions of vast numbers of major and minor individuals who express what must be 
expressed according to their own personal life narratives and the requirements of the 
crises' metascript.'^* 

Klaus P. Fischer, The History of an Obsession: German Judeophobia and the Holocaust 
(New York: Continuum, 1998), 21-50, 120-53; Roberto Finzi, Anti-Semitism: From Its European 
Roots to the Holocaust (New York: Interlink Books, 1999); James Carroll, Constantine's Sword: 
The Church and the Jews: A History (Boston: Houghton Mijflin, 2001), 100-219; Lionel B. 
Steiman, Paths to Genocide: Anti-Semitism in Western History (New York: St. Martin's Press, 
1998), 1-70, 212-35; Joshua Trachtenberg, The Devil and the Jews: The Medieval Conception of 
the Jew and Its Relation to Modern Anti-Semitism (1943; reprint, Philadelphia: Jewish 
Publication Society of America, 1983); Arthur Hertzberg and Aran Hirt-Manheimer, Jews: The 
Essence and Character of a People (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1998), 13-64. 

^Graham Allison and Philip Zelikow, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile 
Crisis (New York: Longman, 1999); Robert Weisbrot, Maximum Danger: Kennedy, the Missiles, 
and the Crisis of American Confidence (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2001); Mark White, The Cuban 
Missile Crisis (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996). 

''^Michael Hunt, Crises in U.S. Foreign Policy: An International History Reader (New Haven, 
CT: Yale University Press, 1996); Patrick J. Haney, Organizing for Foreign Policy Crises: 
Presidents, Advisers, and the Management of Decision Making (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

When Khrushchev pounded his shoe on the desk at the United Nations, or when 
Kennedy implored an audience of Berliners to believe that indeed he was one of them, 
the use of theatrics was deliberate. Yet, the staged performances of leaders, such as Hitler 
at his popular rallies and during his long speeches at the Nazi Reichstag, were only 
particular moments of political theater. Theater also extended to the war related decisions 
in the innumerable planning meetings Hitler held in his underground bunkers. In Hitler's 
mind, as in the minds of most of his important adversaries, reality was a social construct. 
Hitler and his inner circle assumed a worldview with the Reich at its center. The human 
race was strictly hierarchical, as Nazi plans for eugenics and genocide made plain. The 
Weltanschauung of German fascists worked into the Nazi script dominated by paranoia 
and ruthless militarism. Yet, this was all an organized psychodrama, albeit 

The scripts followed by Winston Churchill and his colleagues and those followed by 
the French, Americans, Russians, Japanese, Chinese, and so on, were referenced by their 
respective cultural systems and the narrative constructions of their worlds in the midst of 
the Second World War. Each national community had to come to terms with a 
perspective on the global conflict that was uniquely its own, both during the war and 
afterward. No one understood the war from the same perspective as the Czechoslovaks, 
who found their country betrayed and invaded from all sides."" The war's narrative was 
unique for the Poles, who faced the onslaught of the German army alone in September 

1939 and then witnessed the Soviet invasion from its eastern frontier.'^' The great 
magnitude of the world war as narrative was very different for the French, who lost in 

1940 and had to cope with the division of the French empire into Vichy and Free French 
sides.'" It was quite different for the Japanese, who viewed themselves first as victims 

Press, 1997), 1-22; Ian Ang, Living Room Wars: Rethinking Media Audiences for a Postmodern 
World (New York: Routledge, 1996), 150-80; Carta Brooks Johnston, Global News Access: The 
Impact of New Communications Technologies (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998), 95-153; David 
Demers and K. Viswanath, eds.. Mass Media, Social Control, and Social Change: A Macrosocial 
Perspective (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1999); Gabriel Weimann, Communicating 
Unreality: Modern Media and the Reconstruction of Reality (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2000), 
243-319; Justin Lewis, Constructing Public Opinion: How Political Elites Do What They Like and 
Why We Seem to Go Along with It (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), 138-66. 

'^^ Joachim Kohler, Wagner's Hitler: The Prophet and His Disciple (New York: Blackwell, 
2000), 57-66, 269-95; Hermann Glaser, The Cultural Roots of National Socialism (Austin: 
University of Texas Press, 1978); Cuthbert Carson Mann, Hitler's Three Struggles: The Neo-pagan 
Revenge (Evanston, IL: Chicago Spectrum Press, 1995). 

George Eric Rowe, Betrayal in Central Europe: Austria and Czechoslovakia: The Fallen 
Bastions (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1939), 381-507. 


Jozef Garlinski, Poland in the Second World War (Houndmills, MD: Macmillan, 1985), 11- 

'^^ Bertram M. Gordon, CoUaborationism in France during the Second World War (Ithaca, NY: 
Cornell University Press, 1980), 17-89; Martin Marix Evans, The Fall of France: Act with Daring 
(Oxford: Osprey, 2000). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

and then as victors, but in the end victims of not only the West but of themselves. The 
public history of the conflict is far too immense to discuss in one chapter or one book. 
Suffice it to say that many thousands or millions of narratives, on different levels, 
describe the infinite dimensions of the Second World War. In sum, though, the disparate 
narratives, group and collective, organized a postwar reality that historians and political 
scientists continue to address on a daily basis. '^^ 

Churchill and the British public saw the war within the framework of Britain's 
narrative for national survival. The same idea applied to the French, Russian, Polish, 
Dutch, Danish, and other national narratives over the course of the Second World War. In 
each national culture, the war developed around the people in a bewildering and 
terrifying display of modern warfare. The combatant nations, which numbered in the 
dozens by the war's end, were compelled to act as the orchestration of the global war 
commanded them. So, without more deliberation than was required by strategic and 
operational concerns, entire national populations were mobilized. In the United States, a 
country ensconced in determined isolationism at the very start of the war in Europe, more 
than 10 percent of the total population had enlisted in the armed forces by the war's 
conclusion. The economy, which normally devoted 1 percent of its production to the 
military, soon increased that amount to 50 percent of gross national product. The war 
swept tens of millions of individuals into highly organized systems of military 
mobilization. It brought the issues that surrounded national self-interest and survival and 
the collective structure of the international system to the immediate center of individual 
consciousness. Every thinking person on earth knew what the war was being fought for. 
It was most simply a struggle for control of the world.'" 

Once more, the analogy posed by the space satellite images deserves restatement. Just 
as from the vantage point of near space the continents exist only as physical structures in 
geologic time, so the inner perspectives on the world that divide nations as well as 
individuals are hidden from view. The human world is constructed physically and 
psychically within our cerebral cortexes. An essential part of the efficacy of the script as 
an instrument for human action lies in its unconscious nature. Scripts would not work if 
humans transcended their entrapments and understood, at the deepest level, their 
connections to larger historical and culturally based systems. We may be able to sketch 
the outlines of the geophysical world that we live in, and we may also be able to divine 
the context of our personal and collective existence, but the larger structures that effect 
the scripted basis for different levels of society remain elusive and transcendent. 

Patrick Brogan, World Conflicts (London: Bloomsbury, 1998), i-xxxi; Raymond Aron, The 
Century of Total War (Boston: Beacon, 1965); Richard Ned Lebow, Nuclear Crisis Management: A 
Dangerous Illusion (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1987); Michael Klare, Rogue States and 
Nuclear Outlaws: America's Search for a New Foreign Policy (New York: Hill & Wang, 1995). 

Kershaw, Nemesis, 518; Norman Rich, Hitler's War Aims, 2 vols. (New York: Norton, 
1973), 2:3-9; Alexander, How Hitler Could Have Won World War II; Gerhard Weinberg, 
Germany, Hitler, and World War II: Essays in Modern German History (New York: Cambridge 
University Press, 1995), 23-53. 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

Mutual understanding between groups in tlie face of the existence of international war 
has bedeviled world civilization for thousands of years. The idea of peace through 
intercultural communication continues to elude us, even in the age of sophisticated social 
science. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, irrespective of technical virtuosity, 
the inability of leaders and indeed entire national populations to comprehend what is 
most obvious and scripted in their collective actions remains an enduring problem for 
human survival. The very clearest example of this continues to be in the fall of 1962, 
when the United States and the Soviet Union appeared as close to nuclear Armageddon as 
they would ever be. The question of war or war avoidance rested on the ability of the 
parties to recognize the danger they were in. The epistemology of the Cold War and the 
nature of the Cold War's script had to accommodate the crisis by preventing a nuclear 
exchange between the superpowers. 

The Technocratic Script 

The experience of the Western metascript in the twentieth century has combined 
diametrically opposed emotions. On the one hand, the nuclear revolution and subsequent 
nuclear crises spread a mixture of trauma and fear of Armageddon. On the other hand, 
however, the simultaneous ubiquitous developments of the technocratic age — including 
progress in every aspect of technological society, from medicine to global satellite 
imaging and telecommunications — produced a measured confidence in the inevitability 
of a Utopian age. The technocratic script worked at many levels. At the institutional level 
it generated hundreds or perhaps thousands of compartmentalized knowledge systems. In 
turn, these systems not only filled the intellectual consciousness of the age, but produced 
the technologies that have transformed modern history. Machinelike, universities, 
government research laboratories, and corporate facilities have created in the last half of 
the twentieth century a brilliant protean scientific and technological civilization. The 
intellectual heritage of the Enlightenment presaged a controlled world in which scientific 
knowledge would eventually solve all human needs. Rationality, an elusive quest of 
modern history since the Renaissance, was embodied in the intellectual disciplines of the 
physical, life, and social sciences, which sought systematic planning and control over so 
many aspects of human experience.'" 

'^^Bruce G. Blair, The Logic of Accidental Nuclear War (Washington, DC: Brookings 
Institution, 1993); Robert Jervis, The Meaning of the Nuclear Revolution (Ithaca, NY: Cornell 
University Press, 1989), 74-106, 136-73; McGeorge Bundy, Danger and Survival (New York: 
Random House, 1988); Ronald E. Powaski, March to Armageddon: The United States and the 
Nuclear Arms Race, 1939 to the Present (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987) and Return to 
Armageddon: The United States and the Nuclear Arms Race, 1981-1999 (New York: Oxford 
University Press, 2000), 1-38, 251-58; Herman Kahn, On Thermonuclear War (Princeton, NJ: 
Princeton University Press, 1960). 

"^Karl Popper, The Myth of the Framework: In Defence of Science and Rationality (London: 
Routledge, 1994); Gianni Vaggi, The Economics of Francois Quesnay (Houndmills, MD: 
Macmillan, 1987); Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, The Origins of Physiocracy: Economic Revolution 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

However, on the level of the nation-state, the metascript did not end war or tyranny. 
The Nazis and the Stalinists and other totalitarian groups also subscribed to the idea of a 
scientific-industrial civilization as a new Utopia. Even when the most heinous of 
totalitarian states were removed from the face of the earth, the metascript still left a world 
riddled with political and military conflict, from the Middle East and the Indian 
subcontinent to the Balkans and the Caucasus. Clearly, the promise of a digital 
civilization in the twenty-first century remains the quintessence of the technocratic 
metascript, in which the problems of humankind will be solved by the perfection of the 
technocratic. '''^ 

Yet, the paradox of the metascript remains the contrast between its epistemological 
framework and its political context. In the last decades of the last century and the first 
years of the new one, the movement toward a global secular humanistic technocratic 
civilization was belied by the political conundrums of a fragile and deeply variegated 
international system. In a world dominated by international and internecine conflicts, 
with political divisions along ethnic, religious, ideological, and economic lines, the power 
of the techno and the logos of the United States and the West seemed almost beside the 
point. With ever-greater modernizing elements in the world, the overall crises of 
modernization facing the world's peripheries remained unabated. How, it was asked, 
could the power of the advanced nation-states solve the severe inequities that the 
expansion of European society had created around the world? The problems faced by 
generations of leaders in the West, and, in particular, in the United States, were almost 
entirely political, even if the structure governing the scripts and metascripts was related to 
deeper, more fundamental problems facing the world's peoples.'^* 

For the United States, the script turned in response to events in the metascript. 
Recurring crises during the Cold War shaped a national consciousness toward all foreign 
policy crises. Year after year, the public was subjected to crises related to the geostrategic 

and Social Order in Eighteenth-Century France (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1976); Keith 
Michael Baker, Condorcet: From Natural Philosophy to Social Mathematics (Chicago: University 
of Chicago Press, 1975); W. G. Runciman, Applied Social Theory (New York: Cambridge 
University Press, 1997). 

^Roco and Bainb ridge. Societal Implications of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology; Edward A. 
Rietman, Molecular Engineering of Nanosystems (New York: Springer, 2001); Cristian S. Calude 
and Gheorghe Paun, Computing with Cells and Atoms: An Introduction to Quantum, DNA, and 
Membrane Computing (New York: Taylor & Francis, 2001); Julian Brown, Minds, Machines, and 
the Multiverse: The Quest for the Quantum Computer (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000); 
Williams Clearwater, Ultimate Zero and One: Computing at the Quantum Frontier (New York: 
Copernicus, 2000); Michael A. Nielsen and Isaak L. Chuang, Quantum Computation and Quantum 
Information (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000); U.S. House Committee on Science, 
Subcommittee on Basic Research (Hearings), Beyond Silicon-based Computing: Quantum and 
Molecular Computing 106, no. 2 (September 12, 2000) (Washington, DC: GPO, 2001). 

"^Jomo and Nagaraj, Globalization versus Development; Jeffrey James, Technology, 
Globalization and Poverty (Northampton, MA: Elgar, 2002); Walden Bella, Dark Victory: The 
United States and Global Poverty (London: Pluto Press, 1999). 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

and ideological rivalry with the Soviet Union. There were coups and revolutions in every 
corner of the world, many of which were connected to American and/or Soviet covert 
operations. The Greek Civil War of 1945-1947 was a crisis, as was the Berlin blockade a 
year later. The Chinese Revolution of 1949, the explosion of the Soviet Union's first 
atomic bomb, and finally the outbreak of the Korean War were all deep, script-turning 
foreign policy crises. The CIA-backed Iranian and Guatemalan coups and the fall of 
French Indochina were some of the crises that governed the Eisenhower and Truman 
administrations in the first part of the 1950s. The latter part of that decade involved the 
Suez, Hungarian, Taiwan, Laotian, and Berlin crises, and then the Cuban Revolution 
quickly became a crisis. Crisis management became an almost continuous exercise of 
foreign policy in the United States government. The training of diplomats and national 
security analysts became oriented toward dealing with short-term crises that exposed the 
national security system to a range of dangers, both strategic and political. '"" 

So the professional orientation of the technocratic state to the foreign policy crisis was 
the milieu that framed the national command authority's decisions relating to the Cuban 
Missile Crisis of October 1962. In that crisis, along with the near accidental nuclear war 
of 1983, the world was brought closer to physical annihilation than at any other time in 
the nuclear age. The response, which has been studied for decades, was scripted by the 
narratives of orthodox Cold War decision makers with tense paranoid views of potential 
appeasement of an enemy of absolute ruthlessness. Yet, the huddled terror that revolved 
around the White House and the Kremlin seventeen years after the Second World War 
was both real and ritualistic. It was real in that the catastrophic consequences would have 
been real if the confrontation had resulted in war, and ritualistic in its crisis protocols and 
the predictable views of its participants. 

"Predictable" is an unkind word for the most compelling of crises, but we must in 
historical terms view all crises as scripted moments. Just as two dominant males in a herd 
of large animals will engage in ritualized combat, locking horns and thrashing one 
another in a test of power, the same theatrical displays are found among human beings. In 
the confrontation between the American and Russian navies off the coast of Cuba, the 
prospect of locking not horns but weapons systems demonstrated the evolutionary 
durability of patriarchal power. ''"' 

For foreign policy crises, the memoirs of American secretaries of state are the most 
instructive. See Dean Acheson, Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department (New 
York: Norton, 1969); Kissinger, White House Years and Years of Upheaval (Boston: Little, Brown, 
1982); Zhigniew Brzezinski, Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Advisor, 
1977-1981 (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1983); James A. Baker III, The Politics of 
Diplomacy: Revolution, War, and Peace, 1989-1992 (New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1995). 

* James G. Blight, The Shattered Crystal Ball: Fear and Learning in the Cuban Missile Crisis 
(Savage, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1991), 3-10, 25-52; Weisbrot, Maximum Danger, 111-48; 
Lawrence Freedman, Kennedy's Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam (New York: Oxford 
University Press, 2000), 190-202. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

War was averted — barely, but averted all the same. The deciding factors were in the 
scripts of the leaders who played their roles as agents of national, group, and individual 
scripts with enough aplomb to have survived the encounter. Kennedy would die only a 
year later, and Khrushchev would be deposed only a year after that, but the two men 
defused the crisis through the script posed by Wilsonian internationalism applied to the 
1960s. Concessions were made, and with them the entire national security regimes of the 
two states responded with institutional protocols that returned Armageddon to the back of 
the nuclear world's stage. In the Cuban Missile Crisis, unlike many other Cold War 
confrontations, the gravity of the experience changed not only Kennedy and Khrushchev 
but also the entire corps of foreign policy elite that "managed" the bipolar system. The 
political component of the script turned in the fall of 1962, as it had in earlier crises and 
would again in later ones. The orthodox Cold War, which will be discussed in detail in 
this monograph, passed over several years into a postorthodox or revisionist period of the 
"middle" Cold War. This would be the age of Vietnam.'**' 

America the Redeemer 

Scripts drive human behavior in consistent, repetitive patterns. Irrespective of the 
degree of self-awareness imparted to the actor, the script will move forward following its 
destiny. This has been true of individuals involved in decision making in all areas and at 
all levels of politics. In fact, patterns of life development, good and bad, have generally 
held true for all individuals, whether common or uncommon in life circumstance. 
Historical cycles of victory, tragedy, growth, decay, destruction, and renewal have been 
accurate, repetitive dimensions in the histories of groups and institutions at all levels of 
historical significance. Finally, the same dynamics that exist, singularly and collectively, 
in people and organizations are also operative at the highest levels of social integration, 
namely, in the behavior of nation-states and civilizations. The nation-state, an invention 
of modern history, remains beholden to the scripted path of its cultural system and 
collective identity.'^' 

The American script is familiar to Americans and foreigners alike. Both explicitly and 
intuitively, the concept of American nationality suggests a millenary quest for what the 
national Constitution and Declaration of Independence gave as America's birthright. The 
script is a schema for collective action found allegorically in endless forms in American 
literature, music, film, and media. Entirely faithful to its national history, the redeemer 
nation discovered the twentieth century to be fertile ground for fulfillment of its self- 
defined national purpose. The imprimatur of liberal Calvinist doctrine combined with the 
technocratic to make a twentieth-century superpower. The script armed the country with 

Glenn T. Seaborg, Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Test Ban (Berkeley: University of 
California Press, 1981); Schwab, Defending the Free World, 204-10; David Halberstam, The Best 
and the Brightest (New York: Random House, 1972). 

''''Liah Greenfeld, Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard 
University Press, 1992), 17-21, 487-91; Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections 
on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (New York: Verson, 1991), 5-7, 83-111. 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

the technological means that seventeenth-century societies never thought possible. Yet, 
the concept of American fulfillment remained as it was. Americans, whether in the first 
settlements on the Atlantic, or in the founding period, or on the Mormon treks of the 
nineteenth century, or in the patriotic sentiments of soldiers during the Mexican War, the 
Civil War, and the War with Spain, all had sought to build the enduring metaphor for 
American civilization: a new Zion. Even with the rapid development of secular 
knowledge and institutions in American society, the quest for Zion carried through the 
twentieth century. Despite the scientific discourse that belied Christian and ethnocentric 
concepts of national purpose, the script had not changed at all. Corporate and national 
interests in global security shaped the architecture of the liberal technocratic order and 
the "new" American script.'''"' 

The newness, however, was superficial. As an international actor in the twentieth 
century, the United States, through its collective personality and the actions of its leaders, 
continued to strive toward the imaginary synthesis of a redemptive liberal order. This was 
accepted and propagandized even when the country's actions militated against it. Was the 
nation's redemption in the support of scores of right-wing authoritarian regimes on every 
continent? The country viewed liberalization, democracy, and Westernization as the 
highest achievements it could attain in foreign affairs. Yet, the covert actions of the CIA 
were often quite inconsistent with the country's neo-Wilsonian ideology. There was no 
call to the higher ideals of American internationalism, other than in Cold War rhetoric, 
when the U.S. Army trained thousands of Latin American soldiers and police in the 
methods of terror. This was done without interruption throughout the length of the Cold 
War, on American soil by uniformed military trainers, all in the name of America's 
sanctimonious war for "freedom." ''*'* 

Other examples that militated against the ideology of progressive internationalism 
were shown in the hypocritical human rights policies of numerous administrations. In the 
public's eyes, this was most especially true of the Reagan administration during the 
1980s. The narrative propaganda for American greatness and against the threat of 
international communism inspired a generation of Cold War acolytes and believers. That 
collective script for anticommunism did not lose its grip until the Vietnam experience 
shattered the integrity of the establishment and the military. Then the script turned, and 
orthodoxy was overthrown. Yet, it was reborn as a dominant mode of the national script 
during the 1980s, when the Reaganite ideology returned orthodoxy to the fold of the 
righteous. In practice, a range of Cold War scripts influenced the actons of Americans not 
informed by the common American script of Cold War liberalism and anticommunism. 

Hogan, A Cross of Iron, 209-64; Lejfler, Preponderance of Power, 499-511; Cumings, 
Parallax Visions, 205-26. 

^Michael McClintock, Instruments of Statecraft: U.S. Guerrilla Warfare, Counterinsurgency, 
and Counter-terrorism, 1940-1990 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1992), 389^48; Robert 
Armstrong and Janet Shenk, El Salvador: The Face of Revolution (London: Pluto Press, 1982), 
159-232; Raymond Bonner, Weakness and Deceit: U.S. Policy and El Salvador (New York: Times 
Books, 1984). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

On the right, nationalist scripts were represented by the promilitary ideologies of Barry 
Goldwater and Curtis LeMay, and on the far right, Robert Welch and Joseph McCarthy. 
On the American left, pacifist and antimilitary scripts of socialists and peace activists 
engendered resistance to the core ideology of the Washington foreign policy 
establishment. In the final analysis, however, the national script for internationalism fell 
into a relatively narrow range. Even conservative presidents abided by the ideas of the 
preservation and expansion of democratic capitalism. Finally, even the most left-wing 
leadership of the Democratic Party subscribed to anticommunism. '**' 

All human drama must deal with the richness of a particular context. Characters in a 
play must always respond appropriately to their milieu. They must react with sensitivity 
to the mood and the context of the particular scene. So it was with Woodrow Wilson and 
Theodore Roosevelt during the First World War. A global war empowered both men to 
act on their most strongly held views of America's position in the world. Their respective 
ideologies mirrored the national dichotomy between a strongly defined modern 
nationalism and an equally strong modern internationalism. Wilson was the "high priest" 
of liberal internationalist thought; he pontificated to audiences worldwide his vision of 
international peace founded upon collective security, free trade, and national self- 
determination. Roosevelt, in contrast, was the "warrior." He followed the conservative 
internationalism of American nationalists. Consistent with his behavior as secretary of the 
navy, as president he subscribed to the geostrategic and naval realism that annexed the 
Hawaiian Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines and turned the entire 
Caribbean into an American protectorate.'"" 

What each statesman presented to the public was an ideology for international 
relations. Their respective visions were consistent with two distinct American scripts. In 
turn, each script was followed by particular group coalitions within the national polity. 
Wilson was not a pacifist but a believer in the primacy of negotiation and international 
law. Roosevelt favored military preparedness and the use of force over the uncertainties 
of diplomacy. Diplomatic and military ideologies were two poles that attracted different 
groups within the American state. Wilson's genteel internationalism was favored by a 
coalition of interests tied by cultural and economic links to Western Europe. Roosevelt, 
as a significant literature suggests, was tied more closely to American nationalists and 
believers in Mahanian strategic doctrine. The American script, or, more exactly. 

Bonner, Weakness and Deceit, 230-369; E. Bradford Burns, At War in Nicaragua: The 
Reagan Doctrine and the Politics of Nostalgia (New York: Perennial Library, 1987); James M. 
Scott, Deciding to Intervene: The Reagan Doctrine and American Foreign Policy (Durham, NC: 
Duke University Press, 1996), 1-39, 152-92; Noam Chomsky, The Culture of Terrorism (Boston: 
South End Press, 1988). 

■* John Milton Cooper Jr., The Warrior and the Priest: Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow 
Wilson (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), 288-323; Knock, To End All Wars, 
48-69; Kenneth Wimmel, Theodore Roosevelt and the Great White Fleet: American Seapower 
Comes of Age (Washington, DC: Brassey's, 1998); Bradley Oilman, Roosevelt: The Happy 
Warrior (Boston: Little, Brown, 1921), 133-62. 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

metascript, that presented itself to the world during the First World War was balanced 
between these two perspectives. The script that the country followed turned on the 
experience of the nation within the context of the First World War. '**' 

Underlying both Rooseveltian and Wilsonian ideologies, as well as the other 
perspectives on American foreign policy advocated by agrarian populists, socialists, 
peace activists, and others, was the concept of redemption. Redemption would be found 
in the approximation of an American ideal for itself and the world. The Wilsonian and 
Rooseveltian views of national redemption led the country to war in 1917.'** Afterward, 
the redemptive mission drove the Wilsonian concept of postwar reconstruction in the 
Versailles peace plan. During the 1920s, the corporate internationalism of Republican 
presidents found salvation in the reinterpretation of Wilsonian internationalism and the 
expansion of American economic interests overseas. The Great Depression found the 
cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a Democrat and follower of 
Woodrow Wilson, focused upon saving the republic. Redemption in the early and mid- 
1930s was found in isolationism. The policy of appeasement, in the mid- and late 1930s, 
was found bankrupt. The script turned with Pearl Harbor. America converted itself, once 
again, into an expansionist redeemer. Once more, following the path of earlier wars, the 
Second World War mobilized not only the vast technocratic machine of American 
science and industry, but also the moral fiber of an avenging nation. '"" 

During the Cold War, the script turned again. Redemption was seen not in the defeat of 
fascism but in the destruction of international communism. The resources of the now 
richer, mightier, and more technocratic nation became scripted for global rivalry. Both 
American culture and state organized their existence during the early Cold War — the 

^See Richard D. Challener, Admirals, Generals and American Foreign Policy, 1898-1914 
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1973), 30-32, 88; Howard Beale, Theodore Roosevelt 
and the Rise of America to World Power (1956; reprint, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University 
Press, 1984); William E. Livezey, Mahan on Sea Power (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 
1981); Richard H. Collin, Theodore Roosevelt: Culture, Diplomacy, and Expansion: A New View 
of American Imperialism (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985). 

Knock, To End All Wars, 105-22. Frank Ninkovich distinguishes between "normal" and 
"crisis" internationalism. Wilsonian doctrine, which inspired America's global role, was and 
remains, accordingly, a crisis form of international relations in which the liberal order must 
expand its power to protect itself. Ninkovich, The Wilsonian Century, 48-77; Theodore Roosevelt, 
America and the World War (New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1915), vii-xv; John A. Lester, ed.. The 
Americanism of Theodore Roosevelt: Selections from His Writings and Speeches (Boston: 
Houghton Mifflin, 1923). 

Gordon Prange, At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor (New York: McGraw- 
Hill, 1981), 582-84; Holly Cowan Schulman, The Voice of America: Propaganda and Democracy, 
1941-1945 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995). Steven Casey has demonstrated the 
complexity of American public opinion, including the lingering reluctance of formerly isolationist 
groups to expand the war to Europe as well as Asia in the early years of the Second World War. 
See Steven Casey, Cautious Crusade: Franklin D. Roosevelt, American Public Opinion, and the 
War against Nazi Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 46-79; John W. Dower, 
War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (New York: Pantheon Books, 1986). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

"orthodox" period, as I have termed it — around the global containment and elimination of 
communism. In this pursuit, the national script built an institutional and epistemological 
universe of enormous sophistication and complexity. By the "middle" Cold War (the age 
of Vietnam), American Cold War culture involved a huge university system dedicated, 
along with the business system and the military, to the global technocratic projects of 
space exploration, modernization and multinational capitalism, counterinsurgency 
warfare, conventional warfare, and the nuclear arms race.'^'^ 

In Vietnam, the script turned once more. The war stripped the state and the orthodox 
Cold War culture of its legitimacy. Social change on a large scale changed the country's 
culture. The 1960s and 1970s were marked, in the United States and in other parts of the 
West, by social, sexual, and intellectual revolution. The redeemer nation found its 
denouement during the Vietnam War. The national script fell into interminable crisis as 
the country experienced the political divisions of the war and the race riots of the 1960s. 
In a genuine sense, the country had gone through a "modernization crisis," using a term 
invented by Americans to understand the Third World. The epistemology of the Cold 
War fractured on the political rocks of the Tet offensive of 1968 and the Kent State 
massacre of 1970. The orthodox social sciences and humanities melted, albeit not 
entirely, in the sun of the Woodstock festival of 1969 and in the ghetto riots of Newark, 
Watts, and Detriot.'" 

Despite the crisis, the new Cold War culture was more diverse and more flexible, if 
also far less stable. The conflict's impressive effects on American culture left an opening 
for the end of the Cold War during the 1980s, when the confluence of American and 
Russian scripts finally led to the conflict's end. Before that happened, the Vietnam War 
ended, the energy crisis of the 1970s began, and the Afghan and Iranian crises, at the end 
of the decade, led to the election of Ronald Reagan. With Reagan, the script turned, 
challenging the Keynesian liberal technocratic consensus with a more unilateralist vision 
of American foreign relations. The national security state, its prestige damaged and 
funding hollowed, was restored to its former orthodox status. The Pentagon underwent 
something of a renaissance in the 1980s; defense spending doubled, and expansive 
programs were initiated to conquer near space with a new generation of lasers and 
advanced computers. Popular culture reexamined the revisionist period and the concept 
of the market gained nearly iconic status.'" 

Then the Cold War ended in 1989-1990, and the script turned once more. The 
redeemer nation had been reborn in the early 1980s. It revived the legitimacy of nuclear 

^ Simpson, Universities and Empire; Cumings, Parallax Visions, 173-204. 

' Julie Stevens, Anti-disciplinary Protest: Sixties Radicalism and Postmodernism (New York: 
Cambridge University Press, 1998), 10-46, 96-199; Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin, 
America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960's (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000); Novick, 
That Noble Dream, 281-319. 

''^Milton Friedman, Free to Choose: A Personal Statement (New York: Harcourt Brace 
Jovanovich, 1980); Thomas Sowed, Markets and Minorities (New York: Basic Books, 1981); 
Alexander M. Haig Jr., Caveat: Realism, Reagan and Foreign Policy (New York: Macmillan, 1984). 


The Scripting of American Internationalism 

physics and the CIA and won the Cold War with information-age capitalism and military 
science. This was the status quo at the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the first 
decade of the post-Cold War era, when the United States spread its power and culture 
deeply around the globe. Its legitimacy as a nation-state and society of world historical 
importance had never been greater. Yet, the redeemer lacked the political will to achieve 
all that was expected of it. It failed to rescue much of the world from the deep political, 
economic, and social crises of the turn of the century. The country prospered enormously, 
with its technocratic civilization poised to achieve spectacular progress, but its 
redemptive mission to the world appeared wanting, ironically, when it seemed most able 
to accomplish it. In the wake of the first decade of the post-Cold War era, had the script 
turned again? '"^^ 


In the first decade of the new century and millennium, the script had turned for the 
redeemer nation. The nation remained conflicted, coping with the enormity of 
technological change and the imposing challenges presented to both national and world 
culture. On a global scale, the same issues between peoples were operative. It was not 
clear how quickly or neatly the political divisions caused by resource scarcity would be 
solved. Still to be negotiated was the huge disparity between core and periphery, between 
the affluent (and extremely rich) and the mass of humanity that lived on a tiny fraction, 
per capita, of the world's aggregate wealth. For the United States, permanent world peace 
appeared within reach, but the dangers caused by political crisis in the underdeveloped 
world threatened an indeterminate amount of future harm. The safety of billions of people 
and the survival of the planet's ecosystems appeared to be at risk, if only because there 
was no global consensus on how to manage disparate human societies and a fragile 
biosphere designed brilliantly to support the species that dominated it.'" 

American policy remained perplexed by countervailing demands. Nationalists required 
instrumental actions to sustain American supremacy as a nation-state. Simultaneously, 
internationalists needed a strategic plan to sustain the institutional structures that 
maintained the international system under American sponsorship. Redemption touched 
both nationalists and internationalists. It required nationalists to protect the prestige of the 
United States in an environment that remained hostile to any nationalist objectives by a 
superpower. Further, redemption using internationalism presented policy makers with the 
complex and often formidable tasks of achieving global cooperation within the context of 

Here the events of September 11 come into play. See Center for Terrorism Research,; Center for International Policy, "September 11 
Information and Analysis, " 

Joseph Wayne Smith, Graham Lyons, and Gary Sauer-Thompson, The Bankruptcy of 
Economics: Ecology, Economics and the Sustainability of the Earth (New York: St. Martin's Press, 
1999); H. J. Schellnhuber and V. Wenzel, eds., Earth System Analysis: Integrating Science for 
Sustainability (New York: Springer, 1998); OECD, Sustainable Development: Critical Issues 
(Paris: OECD, 2001). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

nationalist constituencies around the world and in the United States. Redemption in 
internationalist terms meant the victory of international organization and the neo- 
Wilsonian agenda for peace. In this quest, all victories appeared to be necessarily 
ephemeral. ''' 

Yet, Americans, born to achieve redemption, supported the driving ambitions for 
American society. The world would be inundated with American goods and 
Americanism. The nation's values would continue, through public and private 
undertakings, to be exported to human communities around the world. The new century 
beckoned with prospects for awe-inspiring progress and opportunity, and the possibility 
of ending tyranny on earth. The twentieth century had beckoned the same way, and so 
had the nineteenth and the eighteenth. It was the possibility of achieving the vision of 
Utopia, the chance for salvation through actions in the material world, that sent 
Americans forward in the first years of the twenty-first century. The same had also been 
true in 1914, as the newly technocratic nation first faced the world. 

^^Stephen F. Cohen, Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia 
(New York: Norton, 2000); Robert S. Litwak, Rogue States and U.S. Foreign Policy: Containment 
after the Cold War (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center, 2000), 47-118; Jacquelyn K. 
Davis, Strategic Paradigms 2025: U.S. Security Planning for a New Era (London: Brassey's, 1999), 
285-333; Klare, Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws. 


Chapter II 
The Great War 

Scripted Dimensions 

The "guns of August," as the title of Barbara Tuchman's famous book suggests, did 
not just happen in the summer of 1914. They were set in the dimensions of a new age in 
European and world history. Despite the regencies of kings and emperors, ultimately, 
what was modern and scientific ruled in the legitimacy of the new era. Military force, 
national prestige, and public opinion were all contained in the global struggle for power, 
influence, and aggrandizement. However, as almost everyone alive knew, it was the 
technocratic ethos that would determine the future shape of national power and the course 
of humankind. 

The technocratic age began sometime early in the twentieth century. By 
"technocratic," I mean the mature organization of industrial societies. In the 
cosmopolitan centers of Europe and North America, science and industrialism, 
instruments of the new period, merged into a new civilization oriented toward the 
perfection of machines and machine culture. For the production systems and 
administration of centralized industry and government, there was a need for the large- 
scale use of statistical information. Technocratic knowledge, in the form of specialized 
quantitative disciplines in business, economics, engineering, and physical and natural 
science, was demanded by the new muscular control required of a managed world. 
Technocratic culture — formal, mathematical, and analytical in every respect — showed 
itself in the period's architecture, business systems, and feats of industrial and military 
engineering. '^^ The new age was evident in the speed and power of physical technology 

'^^Ross, Origins of American Social Science, 172-256; Porter, The Rise of Statistical 
Thinking; Merritt Roe Smith, ed.. Military Enterprise and Technological Change: Perspectives on 
the American Experience (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1985), 1-37; David C. Mowery and Nathan 

Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

and in the new robust intellectual technologies of the social and physical sciences. It was 
an age of extraordinary change mandated by the exponential development of new 
technology itself. Global civilization had developed rapidly during the nineteenth 
century. Now in the twentieth, the pace of innovation would, naturally, only accelerate. 

In terms of world power, the most immediate and salient aspect of the technocratic age 
was the ongoing revolution in military technology. In the twentieth century, the older 
empires that depended upon large armies of foot soldiers and cavalry were now to be 
rendered quite obsolete. By the early 1900s, powerful dreadnoughts made of thousands of 
tons of steel and scientifically designed to the specifications of naval architects were the 
definition of national power. All the great naval powers were building huge steel 
warships for the coming war. Technocracy was evident in the industrial planning systems 
of the advanced industrial states as they built not only battleships but railroads, steel 
mills, and chemical plants. At the leading edge of technology, the leading countries built 
airplanes and installed new advanced communication systems, such as wireless radio, for 
military and commercial uses.'"^^ 

Predictably, the acceleration of technological change and its consequences on social 
and economic order left the old national establishments under profound stress. The speed 
and power of the new technologies challenged the sedate order of settled agrarian 
cultures. Collectively, the modern ethos of the new urban industrial cultures helped to 
unleash the virulent nationalism that spawned the Great War and destroyed the 
aristocracies that so dominated political power and the cultural ambiance of prewar 
Europe. Expressing itself in both the creative and destructive forces of modernization, the 
technocratic ethos also unbound the complex social and political forces that would lead to 
postwar fascism and communism. The new global epoch not only promised the growth of 
a global civilization, full of prosperity and universal democracy, but its more sinister 
aspects would accomplish the opposite. It would threaten the stability and even the 
survival of the liberal technocratic order just as it emerged as a coherent entity after the 
First World War.'" 

The scientific and technological structures of the technocratic century emerged quickly 
and globally. The intellectual foundations of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Western 
science were essential to this new industrialized world. In the first years of the twentieth 
century, they created this new civilization based on chemical and electrical energy and 

Rosenberg, Paths of Innovation: Technological Change in 20th Century America (New York: 
Cambridge University Press, 1998). 

^^Roger Chickering and Stig Forster, eds., Great War, Total War: Combat and Mobilization on 
the Western Front, 1914-1918 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000); David Stevenson, 
Armaments and the Coming War in Europe, 1904—1914 (New York: Oxford University Press, 
1996); David G. Hermann, The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War 
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996). 

''^Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire, 1875-1914 (New York: Vintage, 1987), 262-338; 
Tuchman, The Guns of August; Norman Davies, Europe: A History (New York: Oxford University 
Press, 1996), 759-896. 


The Great War 

mathematically based human knowledge. Western scientific thought expressed the 
technocratic ethos, not only in the physical sciences and industrial organization, but also 
in social science, law, and medicine. The legacies of the physiocrats, positivists, and 
inventors such as Darwin, Pasteur, Babbage, Faraday, Maxwell, Edison, Marx, Weber, 
and others found their way into the industrialized and industrializing world. The new 
scientific systems of thought shaped the organizations of commerce and the state. 
Inexorably, the institutions of modern nations, corporate and government, became more 
quantitative in nature. Driven by technocratic knowledge, organizations of all kinds were 
determined to be more rational, "scientific," and statistical. The industries of finance, 
communications, and transportation systems, as well as military technology, became 
harbingers of this new world in which complex standardized knowledge disciplines 
extended their domination. The old society coexisted with it, but the path to the future, 
defined as "progress" and "modernity," pointed to the steel and electronic visages of a 
new hyper-technological age. Unfortunately, it was a world that also developed the 
conflict systems of the European powers. The great power rivalries of the technocratic 
age would create the scripts necessary for a global military conflict. In this context, the 
fury of the Great War started.'^' 

Like all international conflicts, the war involved the working out of scripts. In each of 
the combatant states, the crisis evoked images, fears, and emotions all contained in 
national myths and collective memories. The major actors in the drama, the members of 
the Central Powers and the Triple Entente, responded in the summer of 1914 to a series 
of triggered events, reflexively and automatically pulling themselves into a cycle of 
escalation that exploded. Each actor could not help but continue the reaction-response 
movement of political, diplomatic, and finally military actions. Each actor — France, 
Germany, Russia, Serbia, Austria-Hungary, and Great Britain, to name the most salient — 
behaved within the context of imperial and nationalist scripts. Each nation reacted, 
subconsciously and consciously, based upon generations and centuries of ancestral 
memories. When the German army executed Von Moltke's modification of the Schlieffen 
plan, it was not the year 1914 in their minds but earlier, in 1870 or 1866 or 1809 or 
earlier still, for the French and Germans had many wars between them. It was the same 
for the British, whose naval warfare traced back to the sixteenth century. It was the 
collective memory of nations, the shared emotions of imagined communities that exist in 
the cultural space of past wars, disasters, and victories that went to war once more in the 

Bernard Delmas, Thierry Denials, and Philippe Steiner, eds., La diffusion internationale de 
la physiocratie: XVIIIe-XIXe: actes du Colloque international de Saint Cloud (Grenoble, France: 
Presses universitaires de Grenoble, 1995). R. J. Turgot, R. L Meek, trans., Turgot on Progress, 
Sociology and Economics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1973); Peter Allan Dale, In 
Pursuit of a Scientific Culture: Science, Art, and Society in the Victorian Age (Madison: University 
of Wisconsin Press, 1989); Judith A. Merkle, Management and Ideology: The Legacy of the 
International Scientific Management Movement (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980); 
Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers; Stephen C. Chiabotti, ed.. Tooling for War: 
Military Transformation in the Industrial Age (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

summer of 1914. This penchant for war and the redemption of violence would come 
again, and then yet again in the twentieth century, even as the new ideas of the Wilsonian 
century took root.'^" 

How quickly the world war came. Nationalism and imperialism and the organizational 
doctrines of war had circulated in European cultures and politics for decades. Then the 
Western script triggered a war that seized Europe in the summer of 1914, and in less than 
five years, with the help of massive firepower engendered by technocratic means, blasted 
away much of the old order. A political assassination in a remote Balkan capital, in a 
province of the aged Austro-Hungarian Empire, triggered a familiar script. Deep patriotic 
emotions swelled around the capital cities and then, like clockwork, powerful 
interlocking alliances came to life throughout Europe. After decades of war preparation, 
gigantic armies, equipped with the newest of deadly artillery, capable of hurling hundred- 
and even thousand-pound steel projectiles across the expanse of a military line of 
defense, confronted one another on two sides of German-speaking Europe. The proud 
armies of empires and nation-states assembled on the west in northern France, and on the 
east along the Russian-Polish frontier. In a matter of months, horrific casualties, 
numbering in the many hundreds of thousands, filled cemeteries and hospitals all over 

Shared narratives of nation-states attached to their own mythopoeic concepts of 
nationhood plunged the continent into total war. Kaiser Wilhelm professed national self- 

The sword has been forced into our hands. I hope that in the event that my 
efforts to the very last moment do not succeed in bringing our opponents to 
reason and in preserving peace, we may use the sword, with the help of 
God, so that we may sheathe it again with honor. 

The French response to the German assault through Belgium was even 
more vociferous in its enthusiasm and self-righteous ardor. President 
Poincare addressed the French Parliament on August 4, 1914, to sounds of 
raucous cheers: 

Tuchman, The Guns of August; Annika Mombauer, Helmut Von Moltke and the Origins of 
the First World War (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001); Martin Gilbert, The First 
World War: A Complete History (New York: Holt, 1996), 1-54; Hew Strachan, The First World 
War, vol. 1, To Arms (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 162-207. 

German and French casualties at the First Battle of the Marne have been estimated at 
500,000;the battle lasted fourdays.See humanities/rose/battle 
.htmWmar; Gilbert, The First World War, 55-77. 

"'Kaiser Wilhelm's War Speeches, Speech from the Balcony of the Royal Palace, Berlin, July 
31, 1914, The World War 1 Document Archive, talk .html. 


The Great War 

In the war which is beginning, France will have Right on her side, the 
eternal power of which cannot with impunity be disregarded by nations 
any more than by individuals (loud and unanimous applause). She will be 
heroically defended by all her sons; nothing will break their sacred union 
before the enemy; today they are joined together as brothers in a common 
indignation against the aggressor, and in a common patriotic faith. 

War enthusiasm gripped national publics in all the capitals of the major combatant 
states. A secondary literature on the subject discusses the psychological and sociological 
dimensions of the First World War as it began. Another literature examines the war's 
comparative domestic cultural and political dimensions, showing the depth of societal 
commitments as well as sufferings and, finally, the expansion of antiwar sentiment 
through the destruction and exhaustion of the conflict. The military dimensions of the 
conflict have been examined by an even more massive secondary literature in a number 
of languages, demonstrating how the conflict became a brutal campaign of land and sea 
war. Finally, its termination and settlement amid the destruction of European society 
established the preconditions for fascism, communism, and the Second World War a 
generation hence.'" 

The war began in Europe, a product of interlocking strategic alliances and global 
rivalries for power and national prestige. With no territorial or strategic claim to the 
massive land war in Europe, the American role was, at the beginning, naturally 
tangential. By virtue of the nation's traditions and self-definition, the American role in 
Europe and in European imperial rivalries was to practice abiding neutrality. Despite the 
Spanish War, which projected American power across the Pacific, the country was not 
quite a global empire. America in 1914 did not define its interests in global terms as 
Great Britain, France, and Germany did. The American script was global in its projection 
of economic power: American commerce and finance established the United States as the 
world's preeminent economic power. Despite its strategic isolationism, the country led 
the world in industrial output and technology. In addition to financial assets, American 
natural resources and its vast and productive agricultural system were critical to the war 
effort of the Triple Entente. Nonetheless, U.S. industrial power and its large population of 
able-bodied males still did not automatically establish America as a true world power. To 
establish leadership in world affairs required a redefinition of America's role, a 
psychological development that had to wait until after the first three years of the Great 

President Poincare's War Message, Address to Parliament (From the French Yellow Book 
Journal Officiel, Paris, August 5, 1914), the World War 1 Document Archive, 

"'*Verhey, The Spirit of 1914; Jay Winter and Jean-Louis Robert, eds.. Capital Cities at War: 
1914-1919 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Paul Fussell, The Great War and 
Modern Memory (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

American neutrality vis-a-vis a European war was Washingtonian, dating to the first 
decade of American independence. There were strong elements of pro-war American 
nationalism present in the ideology of Theodore Roosevelt and the Republican Party. 
Roosevelt and other nationalists saw German power as a potential strategic threat of the 
highest order. Nonetheless, the strength of pro-war sentiment had to wait months and 
finally two and a half years before the general call to arms. At the war's beginning, no 
attempts were made to move the United States into the conflict."'' The literature on 
American intervention juxtaposes elements of American nationalism and internationalism 
responding to an environment of global war. Americans viewed the Great War as they 
would other wars in the twentieth century, through the prisms of divergent foreign policy 
perspectives connected to particular group interests. 

At the center of American decision-making, forms of military realism and progressive 
liberalism informed the thinking of opponents and proponents of the Wilson 
administration's ambiguous approach to nonintervention. The official American response 
to the outbreak of war was to declare neutrality. The United States, having no ambitions 
other than to protect the Western Hemisphere, would not transform itself into an 
international power with strategic and material interests in Europe. Nevertheless, the 
form of neutrality chosen by the United States clearly favored the Allies. As the war 
commenced, a steady stream of military and nonmilitary goods, as well as the financial 
assistance of American capital, supported the Triple Entente.'" Still, irrespective of the 
Wilson administration's desires to support the containment of German power, the 
political interests of the nation and the Democratic Party militated against joining the 
war. To join voluntarily in a deadly land and sea war was, by common sense, not in the 
national interest.'" 

The script for American neutrality was underlaid by the internal politics of ethnic 
divisions and passions. Internal group political scripts directly affected the electoral 
process. Ethnoculturally, British America supported Great Britain. For both cultural and 
economic reasons, the descendants of British immigrants, including those in the South 
and New England, and especially the patrician families on the eastern seaboard, were 
committed to supporting their transatlantic cousins against the Germans and Austrians. 
Conversely, the members of the very sizable immigrant population from German- 
speaking Europe favored their kinsmen. Some five hundred German newspapers and 
innumerable cultural institutions rallied behind the fatherland in its hour of crisis. Many 
other non-British ethnic groups, each driven by the historical patterns of its particular 
national script, supported neutrality rather than war. Irish, Scandinavian, and Jewish 
populations were for their own particular reasons hostile to the Triple Entente. Irish 

Paul A. C. Koistinen, Mobilizing for Modern War: The Political Economy of American 
Warfare, 1865-1919 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1997), 166-267. 

'" Knock, To End All Wars, 31-69; Patrick Devlin, Too Proud to Fight: Woodrow Wilson's 
Neutrality (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975); Arthur Link, Wilson: Campaigns for 
Progressivism and Peace (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965), 5:38^2. 

The Great War 

Americans would not support the colonial occupier of Eire; they saw no virtue in the 
defense of the British Empire. Further, the sizable and insular populations of 
Scandinavian Americans and Ashkenazi Jews had their own reasons for opposing a 
military alliance with the Allies. Scandinavians were generally pacifist and were close to 
the Germans in cultural terms. American Jews viewed Russia as an enemy, an anti- 
Semitic country, while Germany was a friend. '^^ 

America, as a nation that opened itself up to large-scale immigration, by the second 
decade of the twentieth century possessed a very different character from the nationalism 
that defined the nation-state in most of Europe. The civic nature of American nationality 
allowed the peopling of many different groups within the United States. Yet, the fusion of 
these groups into the American "melting pot" had not eliminated the ethnic ties of 
immigrants and their children and grandchildren. President Wilson said as much in his 
message to Congress, recognizing that "the people of the United States were drawn from 
many nations, particularly the nations now at war."'^' 

Over several years, the internal dialogue between those groups who favored a strategic 
approach to the war and those who subscribed to neutrality and a diplomatic solution 
represented a fundamental cleavage within the American polity. As the war began in 
Europe, the political script given to the United States was traditional and unambiguous. 
Despite more sympathy for the Allies, the national government had to consider its self- 
concept at the beginning of a new century. It was divided not only by ethnicity, but also 
by sectional interests, race, religion, and class, and ideologically by perceived notions of 
international relations and the nature of America's role in the world."" Prior to 1914, at 
the height of the progressive era, the political left had been strong in America. The 
aversion to war was a clarion call to the progressive internationalism of the socialists, 
labor unions, and others who condemned capitalism and European militarism as moral 

Wilson and his administration were astute enough to understand these issues 
implicitly, and they discussed them openly. The national script for neutrality evolved 
very quickly into a policy of nonintervention that favored the Allies. Quite soon the 
Wilson administration and other institutions, including leading newspapers, wavered in a 
state of partial neutrality. The country would not contribute to the Allied cause directly 
with soldiers or material aid. However, the private sector supplied the British and French 
with all they needed in food and arms, and large New York banks eagerly financed the 
huge purchases of war materials. Nonetheless, the neutrality was genuine in the sense that 
not one American soldier was sent to Europe, nor was a single warship engaged against 
the formidable German submarine fleet. Only after the repeated sinking of American 

Carl Frederick Wittke, German-Americans and the World War (Columbus: Ohio State 
Archeological and Historical Society, 1936); Devlin, Too Proud to Fight, 141; Link, Wilson, 5:13- 

Woodrow Wilson, Message to Congress, 63rd Cong., 2d sess.. Senate Doc. No. 566 
(Washington, DC: GPO, 1914), 3^. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

ships in international waters and the failure of all diplomatic efforts was the decision 
made for war. The first American forces did not depart for France until late spring 1917. 
Even then, the first genuine military contribution of American combat troops had to wait 
another year. Full American participation in the Great War did not begin until late spring 
1918. Then, a desperate situation on the Western front was reversed by the sudden arrival 
of hundreds of thousands of American troops. Finally, the redeeming nation came 

Consistent with all matters of foreign affairs in its national history, the redeemer nation 
orchestrated realism with passion. American action responded to both domestic and 
international pressures, transforming Wilson's consistent policy of avoiding war at all 
costs to one that required victory. In 1914, the major actors in Europe and in the 
international sphere saw America as a peripheral power.'" In the wake of the massive 
engagements in the first months of the war, American participation and influence were a 
nonissue. Although the United States was the world's leading economic power, its 
military might was negligible. With an army more deserving of a country a tenth its size, 
and a navy that too had failed to achieve great power status, the United States was 
unprepared — militarily or, more importantly, politically and culturally — for participation 
in the Great War. The American script subscribed to national greatness, but it also 
militated against the projection of American power into Europe. Throughout the period of 
American expansionism and including the war with Spain, American influence moved 
south in the Americas and west into the Pacific. However, in keeping with George 
Washington's advice of 1796, the country avoided European involvement at all costs. 
Doing so in a Eurocentric world had significant consequences. On the world stage, the 
paradox between America's economic and military roles in the international system 
placed the country's influence somewhere between that of a great power and a middling 

In the domestic sphere as well as in the international, the national script for the Great 
War centered itself around the issue of neutrality and the national debate over it. Despite 

'^'Devlin, Too Proud to Fight, 637-681; Link, Wilson, 5:390-429; Center of Military History, 
United States Army in the World War, 1917-1919, 2 vols. (Washington, D.C: U.S. Army, 1989). 

Russell F. Weigley, "Strategy and Total War in the United States: Pershing and the 
American Military Tradition, " in Chickering and Forster, Great War, Total War, 327^8; John 
Patarick Finnegan, Against the Specter of a Dragon: The Campaign for American Military 
Preparedness, 1914-1917 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1973), 5-21. 

General Pershing's insecurity vis-d-vis Europe had everything to do with America's self- 
defined marginality as a strategic force prior to the First World War. In European eyes, the United 
States did not have an army in the modem sense: 

Militarily, the U.S. Army had usually counted for even less in terms of world power than its 
dependence on European models and instruction alone might have implied. Through most of its 
history it had been less an army in the sense of serving as an instrument of its country's foreign 
policy than an internal constabulary, policing the frontier between white and black settlements on 
the one hand and the North American Indians on the other. (Weigley, "Pershing and the American 
Military Tradition, " in Great War, Total War, 330) 


The Great War 

Americans' inherent belief in the ability of their country to overcome its enemies, the 
panoply of interest group lobbies and the political alignments that surrounded the 
decision-making process in Washington demanded a cautious script. Even after several 
years of ever more difficult neutrality, it finally took the provocation of unrestricted 
German submarine warfare to push Wilson and his political allies to declare war. The 
American narrative, at the turn of the script in Europe, was to observe but not to enter. 
Only after years of indecision and, finally, the challenge of German sea power to 
dominate the Atlantic, did the American and Wilsonian scripts turn. With German troops 
threatening to overrun Russia and Paris, and with the prospect of a world thoroughly 
dominated by authoritarian movements, whether German fascism or the radical socialism 
that was sweeping through much of Europe, Wilson weighed his options and carefully 
chose war. Sitting at his desk late at night at the end of March 1917, he wrote and then 
typed his declaration of war that he submitted to Congress on April 6, 1917. He summed 
up his reasons for going to war against Germany. German militarism was a permanent 
threat to American aspirations for democracy: 

We are accepting this challenge of hostile purpose because we know that 
in such a government, following such methods, we can never have a friend; 
and that in the presence of its organized power, always lying in wait to 
accomplish we know not what purpose, there can be no assured security 
for the democratic governments of the world. 

By democracy, Wilson meant societies that were governed by constitutions and the 
rule of law. Americans viewed the German state as so brutal and autocratic that it would 
never respect the liberal culture that defined American nationality. For Wilson, 
Christianity and American democracy were indistinguishable. Clearly, the Christian 
mission for the country was to protect its ideals and spread them to a world in need. Each 
of the nations engaged in the conflict understood its national identity as a people close to 
God. For the United States, prior to the Great War, national redemption was not found in 
its participation in international affairs, or in a concept of global mission that required the 
projection of American institutions around the surface of the earth. Significantly, 
Americans always understood their revolution as a unique event in world history and 
believed that popular democracy as found in America was worthy of emulation by 
nations on every continent. Yet, the country, as of the beginning of the First World War, 
did not define its goals with respect to a preponderant role in international peace and 
order. To reiterate, even after the war with Spain and the acquisition of overseas 
territories, the prevailing view of America by both Americans and Europeans was its 
regionalism. The United States was a country that defended its continent and its 
hemisphere, but would not and did not seek a global presence. Rather than sustaining the 

Woodrow Wilson, War Messages, 65th Cong., 1st sess., Senate Doc. No. 5, Serial No. 7264 
(Washington, DC: GPO, 1917), 3-8. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

empires of Britain and France, the United States was more concerned with resolution of 
its domestic progressive-era conflicts and struggles. 

In 1914, as millions of Europeans mobilized across battlefields, and scores of warships 
held the sea lanes, the traditional Washingtonian principle of nonintervention in European 
affairs held. Wilson had no mandate to side with the Allies, nor did he want one. 
Regardless of Woodrow Wilson's penchant for internationalism (shared by some 
academic and political groups), as an organized polity the country saw its narrative in the 
growth and development of the American nation-state. The pursuit of the domestic 
reforms of the progressive era, including fair labor practices and women's suffrage, and 
the continued growth of the American economy, were of greater importance than the fate 
of Europe in the hands of competing empires.'^' 

The script turned with events in Europe. The Central Powers defeated the Russians 
and threatened Britain and France with bankruptcy and subjugation. The movement of 
the Germans toward victory in Europe and global hegemony mobilized the new 
American narrative. When the script finally turned with Wilson's declaration of war in 
April 1917, the nation embarked upon a path of accelerated development as a global 
power. From that day forward, the country undertook a path of internationalism that 
would create and expand the liberal technocratic order over ensuing decades of war and 
peace. The United States would support the new order, even as it faltered through the 
many and sordid crises of the twentieth century. The institutions and knowledge systems 
that sustained the machinelike warfare of the conflict expanded during and after the First 
World War. The technocratic or prototechnocratic forms of war and diplomacy 
established a permanent American presence in world affairs. In the context of decades 
and generations, the impetus for innovation provided by the Great War stimulated 
building, not only new generations of armaments, but also new concepts for every aspect 
of human design and consciousness of the physical world. In this war of industrial-scale 
destruction and technological advances in military engineering, the world powers 
mobilized nearly all their resources to wage total war. The modality of total war was an 
essential legacy of the Great War, not only for the United States but also for all the other 
actors involved."^ 

The European Script: Nationalism and Technocracy 

Since this war was for Europe, it was therefore quite logically a conflict for control of 
Europe's global hegemony. The interests of the warring parties were as great as those 
confronting the participants in the religious wars of the Counter-Reformation in the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, or the Napoleonic wars of the early nineteenth 
century. In every respect, the conflict of the Great War was utterly sweeping in its 
consequences. On all the great powers, and indeed on all the peoples of Europe and 

^^ Cooper, The Warrior and the Priest, 206-21; Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom: A Call 

for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People (New York: Doubleday, 1913). 

Dennis Showalter, "Mass Wa, 
Forster, Great War, Total War, 73-93. 

Dennis Showalter, "Mass Warfare and the Impact of Technology, " in Chickering and 


The Great War 

within die European empires, the First World War, like its successor twenty years later, 
had profound strategic, political, economic, cultural, and psychological impacts. Not only 
was the liberal technocratic order founded in its aftermath, but the seeds of National 
Socialism and the Russian Revolution were also sown in the desolate areas of the war's 
front lines. As German and French soldiers waged a desperate fight at the first battle of 
the Marne, an entire new period of world history lay before them. In the bleakness and 
tragedy of the first truly industrial war, the technocratic age appeared."^ 

European nationalism and technocracy, two narratives of essential weight in history, 
combined with each other in the Great War. As noted, the nationalist and the technocratic 
undermined the political foundations of the old agrarian and aristocratic order. The 
technocratic script, since its acceleration in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, had 
always promised deep and permanent social, economic, and political change. In the first 
decades of a new age and a new century, the old empires, secure in their historicist high 
cultures, had to come to terms with the new reality. They needed to adapt to the vast and 
complex processes of industrialization. Indeed, this was a burden to political systems 
based upon the inherited rights of nobility and royalty, including tenure over large 
agricultural estates, unfettered patriarchy, and elitism. Authoritarian and deeply stratified, 
the script for the old European orders would not take to the technocratic modernity born 
of the scientific, political, and social thought of the second industrial revolution."* In 
summary,, the epistemologies of the twentieth century would not sustain premodern 
institutions founded in the vestigial practices of parts of Europe. Ideologies dedicated to 
change, namely, capitalism, socialism, and liberalism, and the mechanical, chemical, and 
electrical technologies of the second age of industrialism, militated against the semifeudal 
traditions of the European empires."' 

The material effects of the scientific and industrial revolutions were evident in every 
area and aspect of contemporary society. As noted, the nineteenth and early twentieth 
centuries effected the development of an extraordinary production, transportation, and 
communication revolution in the physical systems that governed mass society. There 
were large, newly efficient steel mills, transcontinental railroad systems, global 
telegraphy, telephony, radio signals, the first airplanes, and in the United States, mass- 
produced motorized transport. Scientific knowledge in all areas of the academy advanced 
rapidly. In Europe and North America, the physical, natural, and social sciences were 

'^^Jacynth Hope-Simpson, The Making of the Machine Age (London: Heineman, 1978); 
Oilman Ostrander, American Civilization in the First Machine Age, 1890-1940 (New York: 
Harper, 1970); Charles A. Beard and William Beard, American Leviathan: The Republic in the 
Machine Age (New York: MacMillan, 1930). 

' Barbara Tuchman, The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World before the War, 1890-1914 
(New York: MacMillan, 1966); Barrington Moore, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: 
Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World (Boston: Beacon Press, 1967). 

' Henry Friedlander, The German Revolution of 1918 (New York: Garland, 1992); Abraham 
Ascher, The Revolution of 1905 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988); Arthur May, The 
Passing of the Hapsburg Monarchy, 1914—1918, 2 vols. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania 
Press, 1966). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

being institutionalized. Tlie work of university departments, professional associations, 
and scholarly periodicals produced new knowledge and inventions that changed the 
intellectual consciousness of the developed world at an astonishing rate. Some of the 
scholarship and research activities of these new institutions generated extraordinary and 
provocative theories of the human, physical, and natural worlds. 

Modernity did not begin with the Great War; it only coincided with it. Decades before 
the first artillery guns fired at Mons and Tannenberg in August 1914, the transformation 
of modern consciousness had already begun. Over the previous half century the modern 
intellect had begun to emerge. The Origin of Species, The Interpretation of Dreams, and 
The Special Theory of Relativity, by Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, and Albert 
Einstein, respectively, as well as the works of Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, 
and many others, had transmogrified scientific thought.'*" The physical universe was now 
conjectured to exist in four dimensions, not three, and its most solid form, matter, was 
thought to contain fantastic levels of energy, locked up in the most unimaginable of 
spaces — the atomic level.'*' The biological universe was thought to be many thousands 
of times older than imagined, and the Darwinian theory of evolution rejected the biblical 
story of creation. Theories of the mind and of society challenged the very basis of social 
and political order and of human rationality. In sum, as the parade of military forces 
engaged at the battles of the Marne, the Somme, Verdun, and Gallipoli, the 
pretechnocratic old order faced its antithesis and nemesis in the new script. Modernism in 
Western art and science stood against the paternalist neoclassical culture of Europe's 
elites, and threatened not only to radically transform it, but to subsume its legacy to a new 
technocratic culture.'*' 

The Western metascript, juxtaposing feudal and aristocratic orders with the modern 
political economy of technocratic liberalism, had reached a new point of world historical 
importance. The leading edge of modernity, which incorporated secular scientific and 
commercial beliefs and practices, and was suffused with antitraditional, anti-imperialist 
sentiments, had profound political ramifications for the hereditary rights of czars, sultans. 

Thomas F. Click, ed., The Comparative Reception of Relativity (Boston: Kluwer Academic 
Publishers, 1987); Arthur I. Miller, Albert Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity: Emergence 
(1905) and Early Interpretation (1905-1911) (New York: Springer, 1998); Sigmund Freud, The 
Interpretations of Dreams, 3rd ed. (New York: MacMillan, 1913); Martin Wain, Freud's Answer to 
the Social Origins of Our Psychoanalytic Century (Chicago: Ivan Dee, 1998); Michael Ruse, The 
Darwinian Revolution: Science Red in Tooth and Claw, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago 
Press, 1999); Asher Horowitz and Terry Maley, The Barbarism of Reason: Max Weber and the 
Twilight of Enlightenment (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994). 

Einstein added the fourth dimension at the age of twenty-six during his "miracle year" of 
1905; see David Bohm, The Special Theory of Relativity (New York: Routlege, 1996); John 
Stachel, ed., Einstein's Miraculous Year: Five Papers That Changed the Face of Physics 
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998). 

A culture defined by Marx, Freud, Einstein, Darwin et al. See Stephen Kern, The Culture of 
Time and Space, 1880-1918 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983); Carl Boggs, 
Intellectuals and the Crisis of Modernity (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993). 


The Great War 

emperors, and kings. The dominant script, namely, the scientific-industrial-technocratic 
narrative for national development, would soon leave the great European empires in a 
state of eclipse. All the imperial powers of Europe faced the emergence of nationalism 
among their colonial peoples. Whether in Europe or elsewhere, the empires of Britain, 
France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia, Turkey, and, informally, 
the United States, had to come to terms with the future structure of the international 
community. The imperialist ideologies that professed the superiority of Europeans were 
still prevalent as the empires clashed for control of Africa and Asia as well as Europe. 
Yet clearly, with the new consciousness among native elites, the domination of the world 
by monarchy and empire could not last.'^^ 

In Europe itself, the aristocrats and educated classes confronted more immediate and 
threatening adversaries. The ruling classes had to face mass movements for democracy 
and social and economic equality fomented by socialists, communists, and liberal 
nationalists. To an intelligent observer, in every practical respect the beginning of the 
century had to be seen as a time of reckoning. After a century of fear and repression, 
agency for the working classes of the industrialized West had to be considered a 
fundamental right. The international system as a whole had to address inherent inequities 
based upon class, race, and ethnic group.' *^ The imperial vision, encapsulated in Rudyard 
Kipling's phrase "the white man's burden," could not survive when Indians, Africans, 
Arabs, and East Asians demanded self-government and independence. Native elites in the 
colonial regions, receptive to the ideas of the French and American revolutions, could 
hardly accept as permanent the imperial hierarchy imposed by the colonial powers. 
Ultimately, these elites believed, political rights should not be based upon the racist 
categories of skin color, religion, and ethnicity. To progressive internationalists, 
including socialists, democratic liberals, and native anticolonial nationalists, the 
plantation-based colonial political economies would have to be overthrown or otherwise 
reformed deeply and permanently. In Europe, the suppression of smaller groups such as 
Serbs, Poles, Armenians, Jews, Irish, and others could not survive in a new era of 
globalism.'** Even if the aristocrats and their loyal patronage systems in government and 
industry perpetuated the institutional frameworks of the old order, the new machine age 
beckoned in the technocratic epistemologies. It was clear that contemporary Western 
ideas and systems of knowledge did not respect international boundaries. 

'^^Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire; John Lowe, The Great Powers, Imperialism, and the 
German Problem, 1865-1925 (New York: Routlege, 1994); Michael Adas, Machines as the 
Measure of Men: Science, Technology, and Ideologies of Western Dominance (Ithaca, NY: Cornell 
University Press, 1989); Strachan, The First World War, 695-814. 

George Crowder, Classical Anarchism: The Political Thought of Godwin, Proudhon, 
Bakunin, and Kropotkin (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991); Shlomo Barer, The Doctors 
of Revolution: 19th-century Thinkers Who Changed the World (New York: Thames & Hudson, 

'^^Jane Addams, The Overthrow of the War System (Boston: Massachusetts Women's Peace 
Party, 1916); Beisner, Twelve against Empire. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

To informed observers it came as no surprise, then, when the national scripts of a 
dozen European nations came together violently in the summer of 1914. The crisis 
ushered in seventy-five years of warfare and strategic rivalry for the control of Europe 
and with it the entire international system. The narrative of European history, driven by 
the expansionist ideologies of liberalism and nationalism and the institutional machines 
of the industrial age, created a new scale of technocratic warfare whose result was 
massive destruction and tragedy. Inevitably, the intertwined scripts of nationalism and 
science-based industrialism promised a conflict of horrendous power. Within weeks of its 
start, huge industrial-based armies inflicted a telling Clausewitzian war on the continent. 
The machinery of war, institutional and epistemological, had been built over generations. 
The best engineering applied to military science from the Napoleonic period onward 
designed the steel-based weapons systems that crushed young men to bits. The giant and 
rapid-fire guns of the opposing armies and navies, industrial products of ballistic 
engineering, chemistry, metallurgy, and factory design, inflicted the unparalleled damage 
of the First World War."** 

Despite the imminent dangers of such destruction, the governments of the nation-states 
involved summoned the mass mobilization of their citizens. The millions called up were 
inspired by the singular ideologies of nationalism. Convinced of their blood ties to the 
"nation," mainly young men went to war. They went to die for Britain, France, Germany, 
Austria, Russia, Turkey, and the other combatants. When the United States entered the 
conflict, the same was true. In the First World War, and through successor conflicts in the 
twentieth century, technocratic institutions and intellectual constructs intertwined with 
raw human passions attached to the ideas of God and country.'*' 

As the war took its toll, with more than a million casualties at the battle of the Somme 
alone, public support for the war ebbed among all the combatant countries. Protest 
movements began in Great Britain and Russia, threatening the public will to continue the 
war. Unrest was evident even under the authoritarian regime of Wilhelm's Germany. Yet, 
the war could not end. The stakes were far too high for either side to acquiesce to the 
other. Despite the loss of life and the trauma and suffering, including malnutrition and 
psychiatric casualties, the struggle for world power remained paramount. As both popular 
accounts and the historiography of the war assert, the North Atlantic became a graveyard 
for merchant ships, and the trench lines across France were the burial grounds for a 
generation of European males. It was clear that the war would not end until the last 

John Terraine, White Heat: The New Warfare, I914-I918 (London: Sidgwick & Johnson, 
1982); Guy Hartcup, The War of Invention: Scientific Developments, 1914-1918 (Washington, 
DC: Brassey's, 1988); Hubert Johnson, Breakthrough! Tactics, Technology, and the Search for 
Victory on the Western Front in World War I (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1994), 87-112. 

^ David M. Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society (New York: 
Oxford University Press, 1980); M. L. Sanders and Philip M. Taylor, British Propaganda during the 
First World War, 1914-1918 (London: Macmillan, 1982); Stephen Vaughn, Holding Fast the Inner 
Lines: Democracy, Nationalism, and the Committee on Public Information (Chapel Hill: University 
of North Carolina Press, 1980), 116^0; Jahn, Patriotic Culture in Russia during World War I. 


The Great War 

manpower reserves on the losing side were exhausted or when the loss of territory and 
essential war materials was so great that there no longer existed the physical ability to 
maintain normal military operations.'^* 

Nationalism and Imperialism 

For socialist thinkers such as Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, and Vladimir Lenin, the 
First World War was a logical result of the internationalization of capitalism and 
empirical proof of the validity of Marxist theory of class struggle.'*' Horrifying in its 
effects, the war created the essential conditions for the destruction of imperialism and the 
creation of a higher order of socioeconomic development. Indeed, the massive domestic 
destabilizing effects of the war, including near starvation and economic ruin, were the 
essential basis for the socialist revolutions in Russia, Germany, Austria, and Hungary."" 

The unlocking of class warfare in Europe provided the ideological basis for several 
generations of struggle between the forces of liberalism, fascism, and Marxism-Leninism. 
Without question, the scripts that unfolded in the wake of the Great War produced the 
social bases for both fascism and communism as mass movements in Europe. The 
conflict was fully instrumental in the rise of fascism, including its most virulent form. 
National Socialism. In Russia, of course, the destruction of the Russian army allowed the 
victory of Lenin and the Bolshevik movement and the establishment of the Soviet 
Union.'" Ultimately, the entire history of the twentieth century from the end of the Great 
War to the year 2000 was framed by this reordering of the international system. From the 
First World War emerged liberal internationalism, or what I have called the liberal 
technocratic order. In this epistemology for international political economy, there was 
now a coherent concept of global development based upon the scientific and industrial 
knowledge systems of the West. Complementary to its founding of the modern political 
order, the technocratic script for the Great War provided the structural conditions for the 
scientific and technological innovations that were changing the world. The world was 
changing everything: its knowledge and institutions, its military and industrial systems, 
and its overall political economy. With its immense capital resources and industrial 
capacity, the American economy would form the center of the international system in the 
1920s. Corporate internationalism and the growth of scientific enterprises in the United 

Losses totaled 5,600 killed for every day of the war. In addition, 750,000 Germans alone 
died from the famine induced by the British blockade (Gilbert, The First World War, 541). 

Stephen Eric Bronner, Letters of Rosa Luxembourg (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1979); 
V. I. Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism: A Popular Outline (New York: 
International Publishers, 1933) and The State and Revolution (New York: Vanguard, 1929); Leon 
Trotsky, The Bolsheviki and World Peace (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1918). 

'""Davies, Europe, 928-38; A. J. Ryder, The German Revolution of 1918: A Study of German 
Socialism in War and Revolt (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1967), 140-217. 

'^'Kershaw, Hubris, 73-105; Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (New York: Knopf, 1990); 
Roger Grijfin, ed., Fascism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

States would balance the relative decline of the European colonial powers and the rival 
systems that emerged in the Soviet Union and later in Germany and Japan. '^^ 

The global script for war undertaken in 1914 was more than just technocratic. 
Whatever the level of domination by rationalist ideology, human culture has never been 
antiseptic to the point of divorce from emotions and collective memories. The script has 
never relinquished its material attachments to the living environment of land and sea. 
What made the twentieth century so dangerous was precisely the merging of the 
technocratic with ancestral hatreds. The technocratic scripting of the First World War 
combined science and industrialism with the historical animosities of competing 
nationalist foes. The fateful narrative connected cycles of revenge and injury that had 
existed since the Middle Ages. At its deepest level, the first industrial war involved the 
acting out of centuries of European conflict between rival nation-states and ethnic groups. 
In the estimate of realist-oriented historians and political scientists, the First World War 
was like all others — a struggle for power. The origins of the war have been understood in 
the literature in terms of nationalism and imperialism."' The European empires, aligned 
against one another in the complex matrix of history and strategic rivalries, went to war 
to settle the terms of relationship within the European regional system. The irrepressible 
forces of atavistic nationalism, conditioned over many centuries, combined with the 
institutionalized conflict over the division of markets, resources, and prestige between the 
great European powers. The result was a brutal campaign of industrial-age warfare. 
Massive armies, equipped with the most deadly munitions and weapons systems, the 
"white heat" of twentieth-century combat, demolished each other with deadly speed. The 
conflict was merciless, and perhaps in the final analysis pointless, but it continued 
anyway. Despite incalculable losses, both material and psychological, the war was 
propelled forward by the scripts embedded so deeply in the combatants' respective 
cultural identities."* 

Nationalist scripts, reflected in language and culture, imbued large and often 
heterogeneous populations with narrative and images for a collective history and destiny. 
Throughout the nineteenth century, nationalist ideologies served as critical agents for 
mass mobilization, thereby shaping the political formation of nation-states. All of these 
nationalist ideologies shared a belief in the exceptionalism of their nations."' British, 

Ross, Origins of American Social Science, 390^70; Warren Cohen, Empire without Tears: 
American Foreign Relations, 1921-1933 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987); Ethan 
Ellis, Republican Foreign Policy, 1921-1933 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 
1968): Michael J. Hogan, Informal Entente: The Private Structure of Cooperation in Anglo- 
American Diplomacy, 1918-1928 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1977); Rosenberg, 
Financial Missionaries to the World. 

Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire, 302-40; Strachan, The First World War, 1-102; Tuchman, 
The Guns of August. 

'"strachan. The First World War, 1114-40. 

For a comparative history of nationalism, see Greenfeld, Nationalism. There is some 
controversy in the very large literature on nationalism over whether it is a cultural or an 
institutional form. Some scholars see nationalism as a very recent phenomenon in European and 


The Great War 

French, Russian, Spanish, German, American, and Italian nationalisms, not to mention 
the nationalisms of smaller European and non-European societies, demonstrated the same 
forms of mythological ethnocentrism. The "chosen people" were not only the Hebrews 
but also the Poles, Irish, French, and Germans, as well as the Chinese and Japanese and 
Vietnamese and Korean peoples.'"' 

The nationalist script was essentially an extension or expansion of earlier forms of 
cultural identity based upon tribal or group membership. What made nationalist identity 
so dangerous was, of course, its historical codetermination with the technological forces 
of industrialism. When the military machines of nation-states became capable of 
launching attacks of utter destructiveness, as happened in the fall of 1914, they became 
monstrously dysfunctional. The depth of group -centered identity, commonly built upon 
shared interests in economic and territorial control, became far too lethal when mass- 
produced weapons systems made armies capable of absolute annihilation. So, when the 
British laid siege to the north German coast in 1914, and the Germans in response 
launched unrestricted submarine warfare against Britain, a new level of warfare had been 
reached. Starvation, or at least severe malnutrition, threatened Germany, while severe 
loss of life from submarine attacks, as well as severe food shortages, threatened Great 
Britain. The machine guns and field artillery pieces planted in the fields of northern 
France and in military theaters around Europe slaughtered millions of young men on the 
front lines. Other new destructive weapons systems added to the carnage. These included 
chemical weapons, tanks, and aircraft, all invented and developed by young scientists and 
engineers dedicated to their nationalist creeds. From the destruction of men by men, there 
would be no respite."' 

The events of the summer of 1914 that led to war were capable of lighting the powder 
keg of alliance systems precisely because the nationalist scripts, the ideologies that 
shaped popular perceptions and emotions, were so powerful in national cultures. The 
dramaturgy of war was extraordinary, imparting patriotic fervor throughout warring 
Europe. The crowds that marched and danced in Berlin and Vienna and in Paris, London, 

world history, dating to the nineteenth century. Greenfeld dates the idea of the modern nation as 
beginning in sixteenth-century England. Other scholars, in particular medieval historians, see 
nationalism as much more ancient. See Adrian Hastings, The Construction of Nationhood: 
Ethnicity, Religion and Nationalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). 

These were some of the groups represented at the Versailles Conference. For nationalism, 
see Greenfeld, Nationalism; Anderson, Imagined Communities; Geertz, The Interpretation of 
Cultures; Eric Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth and Reality 
(New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992); John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith, eds.. 
Nationalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994). 

'L. F. Haber, The Poisonous Cloud: Chemical Warfare in the First World War (New York: 
Oxford University Press, 1986); David Zabecki, Steel Wind: Colonel Georg Bruchmuller and the 
Birth of Modern Artillery (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994); Chiabotti, Tooling for War; Edwyn 
Gray, The U-Boat War, 1914-1918 (London: Leo Cooper, 1994). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

and St. Petersburg celebrated the mythologies of their national creeds."^ Each of those 
crowds was an agent of popular sentiments. Each was representative of the militaristic 
passions that collectively launched the First World War. Political rallies, whether 
organized or unrehearsed, were spectacular forms of theater, reiterating the themes that 
carried the public will to make profound sacrifices for the sake of the nation."' The 
dramaturgy of war was written into the rhetoric and salutations of nationalist meetings. 
Fiery leaders, editorial writers, and other professional propagandists mobilized mass 
societies for the extraordinary privations that this conflict would inflict on soldiers and 
civilians alike. In nationalism, the political leaderships of modern nation-states have a 
durable script, an organizing principle for political, economic, and social order, critical 
for war as well as peace. The use of nationalism has been so efficacious for leaderships of 
all kinds and its presence has been so ubiquitous in modern history that its constitutive 
nature has often been overlooked.^ °° 

The modern nation was born sometime in the sixteenth century, when English culture 
embraced the new concept of "nation" — a term that had just entered the language. 
Historically, a nation was a family or clan referenced by a particular geographic location. 
However, the beginning of modern history, with the expansion of trade and the 
consolidation of ethnic communities under one permanent sovereign and territory, 
expanded the concept of nation to mean something greater than what was within 
immediate eyesight. The new concept was abstract and historical. The nation-state was 
born in the British Isles, and over the course of two centuries the concept spread to the 
rest of Europe and the European spheres of acculturation in what is now called the Third 
World. By the nineteenth century, the nationalist spirit or script was active among ethnic 
groups throughout Europe and indeed the world. The "nation" was universal by the late 

Verhey, The Spirit of 1914; Hans Rogger, "Russia in 1914," Journal of Contemporary 
History 1, no. 196:95—119; Josh Sanborn, "The Mobilization of 1914 and the Question of the 
Russian Nation: A Reexamination, " Slavic Review 59 (2000): 267-89. 

'^^Geertz, Negara, 98-120; Verhey, The Spirit of 1914, 7-10; C. E. Montague, Disenchantment 
(Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1978), 13. 

' Verhey 's thesis considers the role of German institutions in the creation of the social myth of 
German patriotism in 1914. German elites, principally intellectuals and politicians, manipulated 
this myth of the purposes of war mobilization during the First World War and beyond. The same 
argument can be made for the other combatant nations in which the memory of war was connected 
to the nationalist script. At the level of the nation-state, scripts have certain "payoffs" for those 
who control them. Clearly, in American history the "myth" of American patriotism was the basis 
for the powerful isolationist critiques of the interwar period, including the Nye committee of 1935, 
which implicated American business interests, the so-called Merchants of Death, in the U.S. entry 
into the war. See Matthew Ware Coulter, The Senate Munitions Inquiry of the 1930s: Beyond the 
Merchants of Death (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997). 


The Great War 

nineteenth century. Mass mobilization became a fearsome weapon for the early 
twentieth-century nationalist script.^'^' 

The cement that allowed nation-states to wage total war was the nationalist script. It 
was an "organizational weapon," analogous to Lenin's concept of the communist party. 
Without the concrete material sentiment of the common soldier and citizen for the nation, 
the ability of armies to fight fiercely and the commitment of young men ready to die for 
their homeland would not have been possible. The nationalist creed later inspired fascism 
around the world during the decade of the 1930s; during the First World War, 
nationalism inspired unbending resistance on all sides. By the end of the conflict, the 
losses were so severe in every combatant country that the whole nature of the European 
state system, and, indeed, the state of the European colonial empires, was in doubt. Anti- 
imperial sentiments spread throughout the colonial world as socialist revolution 
threatened the basis for empire in Europe.'"^ 

As a strong form of nationalism, the imperial script inspired powerful displays of 
political theater. In both mother countries and colonies, elite circles extolled the virtues of 
their civilizations. Overseas empires extended the cultural domain of nations, 
empowering images of national supremacy and historical destiny. The French colonial 
elite came to view its African colonies as essential parts of France itself, just as overseas 
British saw every part of the global dominion as an extension of the realm. American 
imperialists were no different, extending the concept of Manifest Destiny to the Hawaiian 
Islands and the Philippines. Japanese imperialism mirrored the behavior of the 
Europeans. The Empire of the Rising Sun had begun its expansion with the annexation of 
Taiwan and the Korean peninsula after its war with China in the last decade of the 
nineteenth century. The First World War would add a few German islands, but during the 
two decades after the war, the Japanese "East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere" would 
become a concept of overriding national mission.'"' The imperial script, dominant, self- 
validating, and impervious to domestic and foreign critiques, was at the very center of the 

On the power of nationalism as an agent in military mobilization there are many sources. 
For World War I, see Tuchman, The Guns of August; Verhey, The Spirit of 1914; Kennedy, Over 
Here, 45-92, 144-90. 

For the decline of European empire related to nationalism, see Hobsbawm, Nations and 
Nationalism, 131-62. Fascism was born from nationalism. See Zeev Sternhell, The Birth of Fascist 
Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University 
Press, 1994). Sternhall makes the distinction between fascism and National Socialism, suggesting 
that one cannot conflate the two movements. Barrington Moore, however, in Social Origins of 
Dictatorship and Democracy, connects the World War II ideologies of the Axis powers under the 
rubric of fascism. To the extent that fascism was grounded in the trauma caused by the First World 
War to national societies, it is connected to the overriding concept of jingoistic nationalism 
prevalent in the first half of the twentieth century. 

The actual document for the Japanese design for empire is translated in Ryusaku Tsunoda, 
William Theodore De Bary, and Donald Keene, Sources of Japanese Tradition, vol. 2 (New York: 
Columbia University Press, 1958), 294-98. Akira Iriye, Power and Culture (Cambridge, MA: 
Harvard University Press, 1981). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Western metascript in 1914. In 1918, with the war's end, the international system was 
reordered, but the imperial script survived. Driven by powerful undercurrents of national 
self-interest, it was somewhat altered, given the new terms for imperial control in the 
post-Versailles interwar period. However, the narrative of national exceptionalism 
projected outward, and it was far too close to human needs and frailties to merely 

Viewed in terms of thousands of years of recorded history, European imperialism 
becomes less formidable. As a global phenomenon of sweeping power and influence, it 
was a very new and ultimately transient phenomenon in most parts of the world. It 
dominated the Americas from the sixteenth century onward, but it did not gain 
preponderant influence in Africa and Asia until the nineteenth. European imperialism 
consisted of idiosyncratic empires that, at their apogees, controlled most of the earth's 
surface outside of the Western Hemisphere.^"'' However, the age of European hegemony 
lasted no more than two centuries. To contemporary European observers, the imperial 
script was principally a self-evident desire for national greatness and for the genuine 
needs and interests of Europeans to civilize the rest of the world. To suggest otherwise, 
from their perspective, was absurd. Indeed, anti-imperialist sentiments existed among 
Europeans. Socialists, in particular, who understood imperialism as a form of capitalist 
tyranny, sympathized with the anti-imperial sentiments of colonial peoples. To most of 
the European public, however, the structure of imperial power in the world was 
unassailable. European imperialism was an extension of the power struggle between the 
leading nations of Europe for continental and global leadership. In Africa, British Africa 
competed with French, German, and Belgian Africa. There was British India, the "Jewel 
in the Crown" of the empire, as well as French Indochina and French Polynesia, and all 
the European powers prior to the 1930s had "interest sections" on Chinese soil. The 
world, for the shortest of times, from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s, was focused on the 
division of its regions among the European nations who desired them.'"' 

Understood in this context of global power, the scripted logic of the start of the First 
World War becomes very clear. When German troops mobilized on their frontiers to 
invade France through Belgium and to attack Russia in the east, the German goals were 
transparent. Plainly, the Schlieffen plan executed through Belgium was a bold attempt at 
the immediate encirclement and destruction of the French army. The defeat of France 
would have led to the quick dispatch of the Russian threat and would have achieved total 

Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire; Philip D. Curtain, The World and the West: The European 
Challenge and the Overseas Response in the Age of Empire (New York: Cambridge University 
Press, 2000); David B. Abernathy, The Dynamics of Global Dominance: European Overseas 
Empires, 1415-1980 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000). 

'"^Michael Adas, ed., Islamic and European Expansion: The Forging of a Global Order 
(Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993); Adas, Machines as the Measure of Men; Edward 
W. Said, Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage Books, 1993). 


The Great War 

victory for the Reich against its enemies. ^""^ With the destruction of French and then 
Russian power, Germany would have become the preeminent power not only on the 
European continent, but, arguably, in the world. Winning the war for the continent would 
have allowed the German imperial script to fulfill its long-held objective, the domination 
of continental Europe. Comparable in size but industrially superior to Great Britain, the 
German nation wanted to dominate much of Africa and Asia. In the event of success, 
German achievements, economic and political and strategic, would bask in the glory of 
validating the German script for national greatness. Finally, the Germans would repudiate 
with revenge the rival scripts of their adversaries, which envisioned similar scenarios for 
national greatness.'"' 

Almost by definition, all imperial systems included intricate structures for economic 
and political control. Only through such pervasive control could a transnational 
authoritarian political system be effective. By necessity, all imperial scripts extended the 
institutions and culture of the mother country to the colonial states. Universally, the land 
and material and labor resources of the colonies were assets owned by the nation for its 
greater economic and strategic security, success, and prestige. In the context of the late 
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, national empires facilitated the development of 
the modern technocratic script: a new control system and political framework based upon 
a new concept of international and national development. The imperial script did not have 
a vision of an integrated cosmopolitan international system based upon political and 
economic equality. Supporting that vision militated against the very concept of 
imperialism. The British Empire could not see equality between Englishmen and 
Scotsmen and the nonwhite non-Europeans of the empire. The Indians of South Asia, or 
the Malay, Burmese, Chinese, Bantu, Caribbean, or Polynesian ethnic classes under 
British rule, could never expect equality of any kind from their mother country. The same 
was true for all the imperial systems of the early twentieth century. Each system had its 
corresponding script, ideology, and institutions, and the subjects were not only non- 

Arden Bucholz, Moltke, Schlieffen, and Prussian War Planning (New York: St. Martin's 
Press, 1991), 214-320; Basil H. Liddell Hart, The Real War 1914-1918 (Boston: Little, Brown, 
1964), 36-114; Jehuda Wallach, The Dogma of the Battle of Annihilation: The Theories of 
Clausewitz and Schlieffen and Their Impact on the German Conduct of Two World Wars 
(Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1986), 109—14. Wallach casts doubt on the commonly accepted 
counterfactual claim that a proper execution of the Schlieffen plan would have ended the war with 
a German victory in 1914. The Germans never had the resources to encircle and destroy the 
French forces. 

Strachan, The First World War, 694-814. Strachan understands the German script as global 
and expansionist, which is consistent with the rubric for late-nineteenth-century European imperial 
ideology. The nature of German war aims remains a long-standing controversy in Great War 
historiography. In German historiography, Germany was in pursuit of an expansionist script for 
imperial domination; see Fritz Fischer, Germany's Aims in the First World War (New York: 
Norton, 1967). Alternatively, see John Moses, The Politics of Illusion: The Fischer Controversy in 
German Historiography (London: Harper & Row, 1975). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Europeans but the dominated peoples of Europe as well, including the Serbs of Bosnia- 

In the weeks and months that followed the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 
Sarajevo, the mechanisms of nationalist and imperial ideology suffused the thoughts and 
emotions of hundreds of millions of Europeans. In each country, the concept of the nation 
and the empire sent large armies into the field and navies onto the open sea to attack and 
destroy the enemy. As noted, the passions unleashed were often ferocious. Reports of 
horrendous atrocities in the Balkans, Belgium, northern France, and Turkish Armenia 
attested to the power of propaganda as well as to the genuine brutality and mercilessness 
of culturally defined hatreds. Adolf Hitler was but a lowly messenger on the Western 
front, yet his passion for the fatherland was typical of that of millions of common 
soldiers. For true nationalists, the commitment to win the war at all costs was a 
categorical imperative. To most, victory became a question of national survival. So, the 
Great War was fought not only on the battlefields; it was also contested in the deep 
cognitive and emotional architecture that defines cultural scripts. ■"' 

In the final analysis, however, the First World War was more than a demonstration of 
dangerous and destructive nationalism. It was significant beyond its brutality as a modern 
war of efficient means. The conflict was part of a new framework for international power 
that expanded on the traditional balance of forces that had defined European diplomacy 
since the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia.^'" The new age required an examination of the new 
epistemologies for twentieth-century internationalism. New ideas and new institutions 
were responsible for the reconstruction of the European state system in ways that had 
been thought impossible just a few years before. The war passed from 1914 to 1915 and 
beyond, and even after the armistice — even after 1945 — the conflict did not end entirely. 
The destructive rivalries born of centuries of cyclical repetitions of war would not end 
simply because Europe and the international system had changed. The animus between 
nations and individuals could not be silenced with the advance of a neo-Kantian 
cosmopolitan order. As the century ended, the technocratic and the nationalist scripts had 
not resolved themselves in the Balkans and on the other margins of Europe. Nonetheless, 
the First World War and its successor conflicts provided an empirical framework for the 

^"^Adas, Machines as the Measures of Men; Said, Culture and Imperialism; David Cannadine, 
Omamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 
121-34; Adam Hochschild, King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in 
Colonial Africa (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998). 

Kershaw, Hitler, 91-97; Jay Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in 
European Cultural History (New Yorlc: Cambridge University Press, 1995); Fussell, The Great War 
and Modern Memory; Modris Elcsteins, Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the 
Modern Age (Toronto: Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1989). 

'"Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, 143-255; Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy 
(New Yorlc: Simon & Schuster, 1994), 218-65; Stephen Van Evera, Causes of War: Power and the 
Roots of Conflict (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999). 


The Great War 

technocratic practice of conflict resolution. Viewed as a continuous whole, the Great War 
and its four-generation aftermath have made the world incomparably different.^" 

Wilsonianism: The American Script 

Woodrow Wilson came to the presidency at the age of fifty-six, after spending much 
of his adulthood as a political scientist, a college president, and finally a politician. The 
antecedents to his policies were his Southern liberal progressive script. It was a script that 
extolled reform Protestant Christianity, American nationality, and the corpus of 
progressive-era social science that had defined much of his adulthood. Wilson implicitly 
saw his country and hence himself as part of a mission to the world. The First World War 
summoned him, as he would have expected, to pursue a course that would embody the 
ideals that he had long held for American society. The question for Wilson, as with all of 
the American presidents, was how to articulate his own interests and ideology within the 
complex institutional apparatus of the nation-state. From the summer of 1914 to the 
spring of 1917, Woodrow Wilson worked mightily to avoid war. When he had no choice, 
he endorsed war on the same terms as his pro-war rivals. He fought a unilateral war with 
important allies, to secure victory for those allies. In material spoils, he pursued nothing 
for himself or his people. What he did pursue, but failed to achieve, was the postwar 
power to control the world for American security. 

Precisely because of the diverse and heterogeneous nature of American society, 
American foreign policy always represented a complex mix of nationalist and 
internationalist sentiments. By the nature of the American political system, U.S. foreign 
relations had always been a Byzantine process. Nonetheless, it maintained a coherent 
end. In a society whose constitutional design was protective of minority rights, the nature 
of national policy required a great deal of national consensus. The script followed by 
such a complex institutional system ameliorated differences through compromise and 
consensus. This was true in an American culture that was based upon pluralism. Its 
complex, multilevel political process leveraged the political and economic power of 
various elites. Electorally, it possessed a very large and often fractious polity with 
allegiances to various distinct groups. During the twentieth century, the script that ruled 
the presidency and the foreign policy system was an ingenious system for manipulation. 
Its policies combined different elements of pacifism, isolationism, and jingoism, as well 
as various unilateral and multilateral approaches to world affairs. In contemporary world 
history, it was all quite typical of a procedural democracy subject to numerous 

Davies, Europe, 896-901; Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, 256-413. 
' ' Thomas E. Cronin and Michael E. Genovese, The Paradoxes of the American Presidency 
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 66-131; James MacGregor Burns, Presidential 
Government: The Crucible of Leadership (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973); Knock, To End All 
Wars; Arthur Link, Wilson the Diplomatist: A Look at His Major Foreign Policies (Princeton, NJ: 
Princeton University Press, 1957), 61-126. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Scholars of American diplomatic history have pointed to causes related to strategic, 
economic, ethnocultural, institutional, and other domestic political interests. Yet that 
heterogeneity, most commonly expressed in the opposition between the unilateralist and 
the internationalist concepts of America's response to world affairs, does not explain the 
continuity in its external relationships. This is because diverse pressures and interests 
coalesce in the nation's metascript. Instrumental responses to domestic constituencies 
have never overridden the fundamental trajectory of the American state. Isolationist 
sentiments, very strong before both world wars, did not prevent American intervention in 
1917 and 1941. The Korean War was not halted by the domestic costs of yet another war, 
and Vietnam was not prevented by the fear of another Korea. The trauma of the Vietnam 
War, so destructive to all types of American institutions, did not diminish global 
containment policy. Finally, even the end of the Cold War did not change the essential 
systemic nature of American foreign policy objectives. So, in 1914 and later 1917, the 
American script, whose agent was Woodrow Wilson, incorporated elements of both 
internationalism and nationalism that were present in the nation's political culture.^'"' 

The nationalist ideology in turn-of-the-century American foreign relations was a 
powerful tool for war. Its exemplar and leader was Theodore Roosevelt, who in so many 
speeches and essays extolled American nationality and the culture of "Americanism" as 
the strongest and most virtuous on earth. In Roosevelt's mind, and the minds of 
conservative nationalists everywhere in the country, American expansion to Alaska, 
Hawaii, and the Panama Canal was a strategic necessity. Indeed, Roosevelt's legacy was 
the projection of American power in the Caribbean and the Pacific. His strategic vision 
owed much to the navalism of Alfred T. Mahan, but Roosevelt himself determined his 
own views on national power and the necessity of projecting military force. ^'^ During the 
First World War, Roosevelt's National Security League lobbied the government for 
intervention on the side of the Triple Entente. As noted earlier, Roosevelt the "warrior" 
and Wilson the "priest," as termed by John Cooper, reflected the diametrically opposed 
but complementary roles of military and diplomatic approaches to international relations. 
Wilson's foreign policy emphasized the use of international law, but throughout his 
presidency he condoned the use of force where he thought it practical and necessary. The 
Great War tested his sophisticated ability to exercise military power." ' ^ 

Wilson's foreign policy was a synthesis of diplomacy and force. The nature of that 
synthesis was the managerial system of technocracy. Hence, the technocratic script that 
was essential to the operation of any modern state's foreign policy. The state, armed with 
the epistemological and institutional structures necessary for international war in the 

See Akira Iriye, The Globalization of America, 1913-1945 (New York: Cambridge 
University Press, 1993), 19-38; Ninkovich, Modernity and Power, 37-68. 

' A. T. Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power on History, 1660-1783 (London: Sampson Low, 
1889); A. T. Mahan, The Interest of America in Sea Power, Present and Future (Boston: Little, 
Brown, 1897); A. T. Mahan, Retrospect and Prospect: Studies in International Relations, Naval and 
Political (Boston: Little, Brown, 1912). 
^Cooper, The Warrior and the Priest. 


The Great War 

industrial age, used nationalism and internationalism to effect policy that, hopefully, 
triangulated domestic political interests, success on the battlefields, skies, and oceans, 
and success in the political dimensions of coalition warfare. Wilson moved gingerly 
between the political currents that surrounded his administration. He hoped to establish a 
truly fair and efficacious peace for the United States and the world. The president 
managed the state successfully through three years of neutrality and then through a year 
and a half of war. As history attests, he only failed — but, indeed, failed critically — in the 
period of war settlement.^"' 

Once more, let us review the American script. In 1914, the country was barely armed, 
but its potential for war was virtually unlimited. The script opposed American 
intervention in 1914 because the nature of the conflict, a struggle between ugly European 
empires, could not mobilize American public opinion. Nonetheless, the Wilson 
administration played a critical role, attempting to help its allies. Great Britain and 
France, against the authoritarian monarchy of the German Reich. At the beginning, 
American neutrality reflected a calculated political decision based upon the practical 
concerns of a nation thousands of miles away from the battlefields of Europe. American 
idealism, ever present in the beliefs of Woodrow Wilson and his first secretary of state, 
William Jennings Bryan, was oriented toward the liberation of mankind. Wilson and 
Bryan, as alluded to earlier, were not sympathetic to the support of empires fighting 
against other imperial states. Ultimately, a "balanced" neutrality gave way to a favored 
neutrality, and finally to intervention in defense of France and Great Britain. Drawn to 
the wall by the calculated strategy of the German high command to wage unrestricted 
submarine warfare, Wilson turned to the American public, which accepted, albeit 
reluctantly, his summons for American participation. The country could not tolerate the 
effrontery of the German challenge, and Wilson, his actions scripted by the 
circumstances, summoned the country to global power and leadership.'" 

The Wilsonian script for war had to wait for the political moment. The moment came 
decisively in the spring of 1917. It came only after the Russian monarchy had fallen, 
when the path of the conflict looked as if the German army, freed from fighting a two- 
front war, would throw its awesome manpower and resources against the weakened 
French and British lines. Only after the aggressive German move to resume unrestricted 
submarine warfare, essentially offering unilateral notice that all ships in its war zone 
could be sunk without warning, did Wilson come to the firm conclusion that the country 
had to declare war and move against the Central Powers. The nature of the war required 
Wilson to stay out until no other path was allowable. Once the Germans had reached the 

^'^Knock, To End All Wars, 246-70; Ambrosius, Woodrow Wilson, 211-89. 

Knock, To End All Wars, 116—22. Knock makes the point that no historian has adequate 
evidence to determine exactly why Wilson went to war, given his strong antiwar proclivities. 
Obviously, the immediate reasons had to do with German aggression. Knock does not surmise from 
this that Wilson then fought the war for the ultimate purpose of defeating Germany. Wilson 's 
concept of a postwar international system was anti-imperial, not just anti-German. See also Link, 
Wilson: Campaigns for Progressivism and Peace. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

point of total victory, the prospect of Germanization throughout Europe forced the next 
act in the script. Wilsonian neutrality, so roundly proclaimed in 1914 and 1915, was 
replaced with a formal declaration of war in 1917. Despite risks of enormous casualties, 
Wilson's vision required the defeat of the German empire and the rescue of the French 
and the British on the front lines facing the onslaught.^'^ 

The country was demonstrably unprepared for a huge European land war. Still, 
Wilsonian America fought through the end of the conflict with tremendous vigor and 
determination. It was the first major war fought by the United States outside of its 
territorial boundaries, but it was, as Wilson had told the public in his declaration of war, a 
contest to control the destiny of the entire international system. The stakes were 
understood by the majority of the public, and elite opinion became enamored of the 
concept of an integrated world in which the favorable consequences of victory for 
American national security were palpable. Several million men out of a population of a 
little more than a hundred million were recruited for overseas combat. The American 
soldiers, seamen, and airmen who entered the armed forces in 1917 and 1918 were united 
in defense of the flag and the American ethos. War speeches were heard everywhere, 
exhorting young men to sign up and fight for Lady Liberty. Certainly, there had been 
significant dissent before April 1917. As discussed, socialists, the very large and 
influential German American community, and other groups had opposed intervention. 

Yet, once war had been declared, powerful scripts took control over American 
behavior. The country, which was founded upon the creed of a limited state, began to 
build a prototype of the twentieth-century national security state. In the space of eighteen 
months a functional array of economic and political institutions organized American 
society for war. Tens of billions of dollars, previously an almost unimaginable sum, was 
spent on the physical assets, munitions, and weapons systems that a huge expeditionary 
force required. Both in its institutions and in popular culture, national war mobilization 
was complete. The country needed to prove itself as a world power. It needed to prove to 
Europeans, who watched as underarmed and lightly trained American divisions 
disembarked at French ports, that Americans had the stuff of European soldiers — that an 
American army could engage the German army and defeat it in battle. This too was part 
of the script for American culture and the metascript for the Great War. For the sake of its 
international prestige and self-concept, America needed to prove itself on the field of 
battle. It would win the war and acquire the international political capital that the other 
great powers, in the wake of defeat and huge losses, would be required to give up.^" 

For American war mobilization, see Kennedy, Over Here, 45-144; Robert Cujf, The War 
Industries Board: Business-Government Relations during World War I (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins 
University Press, 1973); Grosvenor B. Clarkson, Industrial America in the World War: The 
Strategy behind the Line, 1917-1918 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1923); Vaughn, Holding Fast the 
Inner Lines. 


The Great War 

Strategy: Coalition Warfare 

In a sense, American coalition warfare began in 1914. Wilson declared neutrality, but 
the United States supported the Allies with essential war goods and financing even as it 
maintained the formal policy of nonintervention. By the time war was declared in April 
1917, the Allies were several billion dollars in debt to major American banking 
institutions, including, most prominently, the empire of J. P. Morgan. A huge 
commitment was made in the spring of 1917 to field a continental-sized American 
military force. However, with the country's army completely unprepared for the task, it 
was estimated that the major land force would not be ready until 1919. In addition to the 
desperate need for American finance, the British and French hoped only for the quick 
infusion of American troops to hold the line against the German army. Millions of 
American men were drafted or volunteered for the armed forces, which went to work on 
the mammoth of task of training a major field army from scratch. Although the Allies 
wanted American troops, Wilson and his commander. General Pershing, were unwilling 
to give them to the Allies for use as cannon fodder. An American army had to be 
established in Europe to engage the enemy in coordination with the Anglo-French 

Several million men were trained and ultimately sent overseas for combat. Naval, air, 
and army forces operating primarily in France supported the Allied line of defense 
against the German army. in Belgium and northern France. Yet, the American army really 
only took part in the last offensive of the war on the Western front. The British, French, 
Belgians, Germans, and Austrians had fought grimly for three and a half years before the 
first major contingent of Americans arrived in the spring of 1918. However, it was not 
until September 1918 that General Pershing was ready to deploy a major American army. 
During the Meuse-Argonne offensive of September and November 1918, the American 
expeditionary force, numbering more than one million troops, attacked the German lines 
in the Argonne forest in coordination with British and French armies. In a final attempt to 
win the war, the Germans had launched five major offensives between March and 
September 1918 and had sustained a million casualties. After losing millions of soldiers 
in the previous years of the war, the German military machine was on its last legs, 
exhausted of manpower as it faced dozens of inexperienced but fresh American divisions. 
The American army sustained 40,000 casualties in the first four days of its offensive, in 
which it outnumbered the opposing German force by as much as eight to one. After forty- 
seven days of brutal assaults launched against machine guns and artillery, the American 
army had lost 120,000 dead and wounded, but its sacrifice had finally forced the German 
high command to sue for armistice. 

In this early form of technocratic war, massive armies of foot soldiers remained an 
essential military resource. Technocratic war in northwest Europe in the second decade of 
the century remained in an early form, not far advanced from the field warfare of 
Napoleon or Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. The Great War was technocratic in the 
sense that national institutions had coordinated a global organization of political, 
economic, and military resources and that the industrial systems used to manufacture and 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

transport the forces were technocratic organizations. The central aspect of coalition 
warfare involved massive deployments of troops and horses shielded by equally massive 
lines of field artillery over hundreds of kilometers of forests and meadows. The 
coordinated movements of large numbers of troops and the artillery barrages of thousands 
of guns proved themselves as harbingers of the new technocratic warfare. In the new war 
of machine-age attrition, the sheer quantity of force applied on the battlefield, combined 
with the sheer number troops mustered from civilian life, were compelling factors in 
victory. The material losses were huge enough to have a lasting impact on the French and 
British empires. The destruction of an entire generation of able-bodied young men would 
leave enormous scars on the ability of these nations to sustain themselves as global 
powers. ^^^ 

With some irony, the technocratic war had created the mighty machinelike institutions 
that greatly increased the military power of the combatants. However, the psychological 
impact of the carnage would mitigate the strategic advances in weaponry, 
communications, transport, and tactics that the conflict produced. The technocratic script 
changed the consciousness of war in modern states. No longer, except in Hitler's 
Germany, and there only for a few years, was war seen as an ennobling experience. The 
liberal script, so sensitive to public opinion, turned against technocratic war even as its 
technological advances enhanced the coalition's management of the conflict. For more 
than eighteen months the United States, Great Britain, France, and their allies maintained 
a united front against the Central Powers. Brutal trench warfare on land, and submarine 
and naval blockades at sea did not advance the lot of civilization. Yet, the coalition 
remained intact. 

Despite the enormous cost of the war and the distance of Europe from American 
shores, Wilson's America committed itself to the terrific costs of a modern land war. By 
late spring 1918 fresh divisions of American soldiers under General Pershing engaged 
German forces threatening Paris. The expeditionary force used French and British tanks 
and artillery because American weapons had yet to arrive. Logistical limitations 
notwithstanding, the American war effort was critical to the defeat of the Germans, who 
decided finally that they could not sustain a war against the fresh resources of the United 
States. More than a hundred thousand U.S. soldiers died in the spring, summer, and fall 
of 1918; this paled in comparison to the sacrifices of the other combatants, but it was 
enough. Power in the technocratic age was a function of the new technological means of 
war; it was also a function of absolute manpower and the political will to use it. In these 

Alfred F. Havighurst, Britain in Transition: The Twentieth Century (Chicago: University of 
Chicago Press, 1985), 150-67; Robert Briffault, The Decline and Fall of the British Empire (New 
York: Simon & Schuster, 1938), 169-73; Max Belojf, Imperial Sunset, 2 vols. (Houndmills, MD: 
Macmillan, 1987), 1:297-56; Philippe Bernard, The Decline of the Third Republic, 1914-1938 
(New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 93-127; Christopher M. Andrew and A. S. Kanya- 
Forstner, The Climax of French Imperial Expansion, 1914-1924 (Stanford, CA: Stanford 
University Press, 1981), 209-51. 


The Great War 

calculations, the necessary course of action was clear when a country had lost the ability 
to fight. The Germans, exhausted and without reserves, finally capitulated to the Allies. 

American participation in the war had been directly related to the actions of the 
German high command. It occurred as a result of a firm challenge to American sea rights 
and the destruction of American ships by the German navy. The senators and 
congressmen who debated Wilson's war resolution in the first week of April were very 
clear about what precipitated American intervention and what the general ideology was. 
From the floors of both houses of Congress, but especially the Senate, the speeches 
demanded that this be a war for human freedom. The ultimate cause of the war and 
America's entry was the expansionist designs of the Prussian upper class. Prussian 
militarism had captured the German nation and had turned her into an authoritarian war 
machine that threatened not only American honor but also vital American interests. The 
threat, according to one of the senatorial floor leaders, was both moral and economic: 

While thus battling for our own most vital interests we are also contending 
for the rights of humanity and civilization. Do those who now counsel 
peace and submission to Germany fully realize the present great distress to 
which they invite us? Last year our total exports amounted to $5,481,000. 
Out of this, $3,382,000 was exported to the allied belligerent countries, 
with which Germany now prohibits us from having any commercial 
intercourse whatsoever.221 

The war rhetoric was consistent and bursting with self-righteous resolve. As with 
every other combatant, the American response was a call to manhood and an appeal to 
the nationalist soul. Following the acclamation for war, the conflict followed the same 
patterns that it had followed among the Europeans and that the United States had 
experienced in its previous military engagements. The First World War was completely 
consistent with the country's past behavior. With the declaration of war, mass 
mobilization and the ideology of American nationalism took over. Nationalism, as so 
many historians and contemporary observers learned, can be a force of enormous 
strength. It can become an all-consuming power for achieving a particular critical 
objective. In full bloom, nationhood is at the very heart of personal and cultural identity, 
often inspiring individuals to perform acts of enormous courage. The members of 
Congress who voted for war clearly saw the war in terms of their "manhood." This they 
stated flatly. To ignore the German declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare, in the 
political context in which it had been made, struck at the very heart of American 
manhood. The rhetoric that brought the war resolution to the floors of both houses of 
Congress was imbued with images of America as a heroic nation. The honor and vital 
interests of the country, and hence its collective manhood, must now be defended. The 
same image of American exceptionalism that rallied troops under George Washington 

"Remarks of Senator Gilbert Hitchcock on the floor of the U.S. Senate, April 4, 1917," in 
Congressional Record 65, no. 1 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1918), 150. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

carried common soldiers and tlieir political and military leaders alike into the European 
war. In every respect, the script followed the historical pattern of American intervention 
in all its previous wars.^^^ 

The narrative called for the defense of "liberty." In the modern sense circa 1917, 
liberty was freedom not only for Americans, but also for the whole of mankind. The 
literature on American foreign wars suggests that American expansion was due to direct 
material interests and American masculinity and power. Indeed, American critics of 
American wars have pointed to those interests to explain expansionist designs on Mexico, 
Cuba, Hawaii, and indeed in every foreign war in American history. Yet, American 
justifications for foreign wars have always returned to the idea or ideology of human 
freedom. This was true whether Americans were fighting Native Americans on the 
frontier, the Mexican army in the 1840s, the Confederacy in the 1860s, the Spanish in the 
late 1890s, or the Filipino guerrillas in the early 1900s."' Whether the historical record 
supported the American claim to higher moral authority or not, the self-image and the 
narrative of a redeemer nation remained intact. Even if the Wilsonian rhetoric for going 
to war was too facile to independent observers, American self-definition remained. Even 
if Wilson's concepts of universal peace through collective security and self-determination 
for colonial peoples was far too idealistic, quixotic, and ultimately hypocritical, the image 
of the United States as a redeeming nation remained quintessential to American 

German belief in militarism as a logical defense for their civilization was quite widespread, 
as this 1914 statement by German intellectuals attests: 

We instructors at Germany 's universities and institutes of higher learning serve scholarship 
and carry forth a work of peace. But it fills us with dismay that the enemies of Germany, England 
at the head, wishes — ostensibly for our benefit — to polarize the spirit of German scholarship from 
what they call Prussian militarism. In the German army, there is no other spirit than in the German 
people, for both are one, and we are also a part of it. Our army also nurtures scholarship and can 
attribute its accomplishments in no small part to it. Service in the army also makes our youth 
effective for all the works of peace including scholarship. For the army educates them to sacrificial 
faithfulness to duty and lends them the self-confidence and sense of honor of the truly free man who 
submits himself willingly to the whole. This spirit doesn't only exist in Prussia, but it is the same in 
all the lands of the German Reich. It is the same in war or peace. Now our army stands in battle for 
Germany 's freedom and thereby for all the assets of peace and morality — not just in Germany 
alone. Our belief is that salvation for the very culture of Europe depends on the victory that 
German "militarism " will gain: manly virtue, faithfulness, the will to sacrifice found in the united, 
free German people. ("Declaration of Professors in the German Reich," 23 October 1914, 
translated and printed in the World War I Document Archive, 
wwi/1914/ profeng.html) 

See, for example, Johannsen, To the Halls of the Montezumas; Kristin Hoganson, Fighting 
for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine- 
American Wars (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998); John Tebbel, America's Great 
Patriotic War with Spain: Mixed Motives, Lies and Racism in Cuba and the Philippines, 1898- 
1915 (Manchester, VT: MarshallJones, 1996). 


The Great War 

The imperial script for American expansion constructed the psychological prism 
through which Americans viewed the Great War in 1917. It was the prism, or the 
modality, that allowed the country to come to the aid of its European allies in the spring 
of 1911?^* Dualism in American foreign relations allowed both imperialism and a 
commitment to the international expansion of democratic principles. Behind the idealism 
about human freedom were potent means of amassing a huge and aggressive war 
machine. The country already had a long history of territorial expansion and genuine 
wars involving field armies and naval forces. The Germans invited war, as they certainly 
knew, when they maintained their submarine war unabated in the North Atlantic. The 
loss of international standing to an antidemocratic nation-state represented a challenge to 
the very concept of American governance and nationality. The German refusal to accede 
to American demands for the respect of neutral rights echoed the same demands made on 
Great Britain during the Napoleonic wars. War was decided upon to defend the 
international position of the United States, and hence that of the political democracies in 
Great Britain and France. Finally, the West delegated to the United States its long- 
awaited role as the defender of liberal internationalism. Woodrow Wilson said the war 
was to make the "world safe for democracy." He meant that completely. Yet, underneath 
Wilson's eloquent rhetoric were the subtler principles of managerial internationalism: 
balancing power in the international system, promoting free trade and parliamentary rule, 
and strengthening the body of international law."^ 

A mixture of imperialism, militarism, social science, and liberalism informed 
America's and Woodrow Wilson's foreign policy in 1917. Rhetoric extolling the virtues 
of American democracy went hand in hand with the expansion of American suzerainty in 
Central America and the Caribbean. A belief in universal democracy and the benefits of 
scientific knowledge was juxtaposed with the stark reality that the world was not 
scientific or democratic, and that American statesmen would make decisions that 
reflected the interests of American power. Nonetheless, the liberal technocratic script 
engaged Woodrow Wilson in pursuit of a world shaped by Americanism and the new 
technocratic age. His articulation of the "Fourteen Points" contained both practical and 
doctrinal positions upon the nature of a war settlement. It also demonstrated an inspired 
and idealistic conception of international order that paradoxically caught the imagination 
of the superior-minded Europeans who in earlier times had condescended upon American 

^^''Kenton J. Clymer, Protestant Missionaries in the Philippines, 1898-1916: An Inquiry into 
American Colonial Mentality (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986); Ernest May, American 
Imperialism: A Speculative Essay (New York: Atheneum, 1968); John Holladay Latane, America 
as a World Power, 1897-1907 (New York: Harper, 1907); Edmund J. Carpenter, The American 
Advance: A Study in Territorial Expansion (New York: J. Lane, 1903); Richard Van Alstyne, The 
Rising American Empire: Its Historical Pattern and Evolution (New York: Oxford University Press, 
1960); Scott Nearing and Joseph Freeman, Dollar Diplomacy: A Study in American Imperialism 
(New York: Viking, 1925). 

^^^ Knock, To End All Wars, 15-50; Ambrosias, Woodrow Wilson, 1-14; Ninkovich, Modernity 
and Power, 44-68, 151-202. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

culture and its democratic pretenses. In its fullest form, Wilsonian internationalism 
articulated a highly sophisticated, complex system of international control. Detailed in 
the analyses of his Commission to Negotiate Peace, or the "Inquiry," and in the legal 
protocols for the League of Nations, the principles of a new technocratic organization for 
the postwar world took form. In their superficial forms, Wilson's ideas were indeed 
platitudinous. However, behind those ideas was a compilation of American social 
science. It was science meant to affect international public policy. Wilson was confident 
in the body of knowledge he had at his disposal. In his knowledge bank were the 
extensive information and analyses written by several hundred scholars working for the 
United States government. In thousands of pages of documents written by these experts, 
there was a compendium of economic, historical, sociological, geographical, and 
demographic information available to national governments and international 
organizations. ^^^ 

Despite the legacy of American imperialism, the orientation of Wilson and his 
administration toward the Great War was framed by the traditional image of Europe in 
American foreign policy. The corruption of the old empires, shameful progenitors of 
imperialism and monarchist government, had left the world's subject peoples in a state of 
poverty and dependency. The American ideal was emancipation through the 
externalization of the republican ideals of the progressive era. The new script, in part a 
response to the fear of revolution, embodied some of the aspirations of European and 
Third World nationalists. It was a conservative and gradualist program for international 
social change, tempered by the legacy of Anglo-American racism. Wilson himself belied 
his progressive ideals with a general belief in the supremacy of European or white 
civilization."' It was no accident that at the Versailles peace conference, Wilson refused 
to accede to Japanese demands for a commitment to racial equality. American 
sponsorship of a postwar liberal order envisioned an orderly, antirevolutionary program 
for moving the world toward a democratic model. The cultured and moneyed elites who 
dominated both political parties favored free trade liberalism, an expanding canon of 
international law, and a rational arrangement for the avoidance of great power conflicts. 
All of these structural characteristics would be part of a new liberal international order 
based upon the new forms of scientific and technological knowledge. Yet, despite these 
provisos, Wilsonian internationalism inspired liberal internationalists around the world 
with the promise of national independence and a system of international relations that 
would free the world from the naked aggression of foreign imperialism. In the last 
analysis, the narrative that followed Wilson's Fourteen Points was quintessentially a 
crystallization of American progressivism and its Christian social gospel. The rhetoric of 

The records of the Commission to Negotiate Peace, or the "Inquiry, " are deposited in the 
National Archives in Washington. See the American Commission to Negotiate Peace, General 
Records of the American Commission to Negotiate Peace (Washington, DC: National Archives, 
1970), microforms; Lawrence E. Gelfand, The Inquiry: American Preparations for Peace, 1917- 
1919 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1963), 32-78, 343^9. 


The Great War 

the Fourteen Points was full of the idealism and millennial traits so characteristic of 
American culture. ^^^ 

Irrespective of the political divisions within American society, which showed 
themselves in the anti-German war hysteria of 1918 and the wartime legislation 
suppressing First Amendment freedoms, Woodrow Wilson, stalwart of liberal 
progressivism, embodied the American script. Wilson formed the American script from 
his intellectual exchanges with a whole range of early twentieth-century liberal 
internationalists inspired by populism and the progressive movement's desires to 
externalize the social democratic ethos of their movement. He incorporated some of the 
ideas and perspectives of his 1916 left coalition and combined it with the military 
requirements for waging a global war. The rhetoric of self-determination for European 
minorities and the peaceful adjudication of international conflicts was juxtaposed with 
the Wilson administration's war mobilization. The size and power of the American 
expeditionary force, financed and propagandized by a formidable domestic national 
security state, turned the tide against the Germans in the summer of 1918. By combining 
progressive internationalism, traditional American nationalism, and the military realism 
of his wartime allies, Wilson created the American script for the First World War. By 
virtue of his high office, the American narrative for the conflict was defined by Wilson's 
particular ideological framework. It was an ideology born of his strict Protestant 
upbringing and the body of American intellectual thought that established American 
social science in the late nineteenth century. Despite latter repudiations by scholars and 
statesmen, Wilsonian internationalism, a synthesis of progressive beliefs about the nature 
of the international system, was to become his enduring legacy."' 

Technocratic Institutions 

International war requires the mobilization of all of a society's resources. To greater or 
lesser degrees of efficacy, the same mobilization process was found among all the 
combatant nations of the First World War. Inevitably, industrial-era wars have been 
machinelike, emulating the fundamental processes of the technocratic age. The Wilsonian 
war machine integrated the economic, political, and strategic resources of the nation-state 
to support American intervention in a world war. Once more, the machine analogy is 
appropriate. The components of the machine were social and psychological, political and 
diplomatic, economic and military. In turn, each of these components had many hundreds 
of subcomponents connected to institutions and institutional systems. When America 
went to war, the nation's script mobilized at every level. Institutional and epistemological 
systems generated the necessary large-scale responses to the national emergency."" 

^^^Ibid., 34-37, 47. 

' Niels Aage Thorsen, The Political Thought of Woodrow Wilson (Princeton, NJ: Princeton 
University Press, 1999), 182-234; Arthur S. Link, The Higher Realism of Woodrow Wilson 
(Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 1971), 127-39. 

"'Cujf, War Industries Board, 148-90; Kennedy, Over Here, 93-143; Koistinen, Mobilizing for 
Modern War, 166-267. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

To many observers, the need for mobilization was not yet apparent in the spring of 
1917. As noted earlier, the country was wholly unprepared for war. It lacked the large- 
scale forces and armaments necessary to project a credible threat to the German army on 
the Western front. This reflected in part the historical ambivalence of America's response 
to the world. Yet it also reflected the suddenness by which the Wilson administration had 
moved toward war. Neutrality was still the much-preferred status quo until the final break 
with Germany over its naval war. In a matter of a couple of months, neutrality was 
completely abandoned and the United States found itself mobilizing for a conflict it had 
never really envisioned. By 1917, as an industrial power, the country was without peer. 
Its vast resources of food, fuel, metals, capital equipment, and trained manpower, as well 
as virtually all of the available capital, made it a military power without military assets. 
The Germans hoped they could win before that enormous potential was mobilized to aid 
the exhausted British and French armies. They hoped that an American impact would not 
be felt before the Allies were brought to their knees by the blockade of Great Britain. ^'" 

The most important alternative to Wilson's liberal internationalism was the philosophy 
of his archrival, Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt and his Republican allies, including 
Henry Cabot Lodge, Charles Evans Hughes, and much of the military's senior officer 
corps viewed international relations in classic balance-of-power terms. They subscribed 
to the necessary use of force — based on strategic or military realism — in their 
understanding of international relations. Roosevelt's views had long been influenced by 
the navalist theories of Mahan and his own research on American military history. Before 
the First World War and during it, Roosevelt viewed German sea power as an inherent 
threat to American vital interests. He had encountered German expansionism during his 
own presidency some ten years earlier, and he was loath to appease an adversary of such 
apparent ruthlessness and geostrategic ambition. Rooseveltian ideology, circa the First 
World War, differed from Wilsonian internationalism in the practical considerations of 
the use of force over diplomacy. Wilson brought the world a new concept of international 
development and a world body dedicated to a liberal progressive vision for human 
civilization. The corporate internationalism of the age was substantially the same for both 
Wilsonian and Rooseveltian orientations. The international public sector, however, was 
only possible for those who believed in the institutional arrangements afforded by 
diplomacy and international law. Roosevelt and his conservative nationalists rejected this. 
They were military realists and saw international control in terms of preserving the 
classic balance of power. The world, as Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and 
Charles Evans Hughes saw it, was in need of strategic more than legal mechanisms for 
collective defense.'" 

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "January, 1917 Report of the German 
Conference Concerning Unrestricted Submarine Warfare, " in Official German Documents 
Relating to the World War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1923), 2:1320-21. 

^'^John Carver Edwards, Patriots in Pinstripe: Men of the National Security League 
(Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1982), 17-38; Cooper, The Warrior and the Priest, 
266-86; Beale, Theodore Roosevelt, 448-62. 


The Great War 

For conservative nationalists, the German strategic tlireat of dominating France and 
Britain and controlling the Atlantic Ocean placed America at risk. Dedicated to the same 
principles of early twentieth-century progressivism as Wilson, Roosevelt envisioned a 
similar world of open markets and expanding democracy. His intended means, however, 
remained somewhat different. Roosevelt preferred war with the Central Powers before 
Wilson did. He saw no alternative to defeating the Central Powers through American 
intervention. He would have delivered the same troops to the Western front in eastern 
France, only earlier. Both Wilson and Roosevelt blessed the new technocratic machines 
of industrialism. The modern corporation and the new sources of power, production, and 
communication so evident in American industry were all viewed as vital to the nation's 
prosperity and international prestige and security. In a sense, Wilson and Roosevelt were 
quite different in understanding the utility and value of the military force in world affairs. 
In another sense, their commitment to the new technocratic ethos and their shared passion 
for American exceptionalism made them one and the same. 

Despite the profound lack of preparation, when war was declared the nation responded 
with enormous determination. Massive logistical engineering was required to field the 
forces necessary for the conflict. Procurement of men, supplies, and transportation 
involved scores of government agencies. The War Industries Board, under Bernard 
Baruch, organized private industry to produce the essential war goods, including 
munitions and weapons systems. The country had to organize and train entire divisions of 
fresh conscripts. Ships, airplanes, artillery, firearms of all kinds, supply trucks, food, 
uniforms, and other critical goods were produced by the institutions of the warfare state. 
The technocratic machine was measured by its ability to coalesce and control the largest 
expeditionary force in military history. ^^^ The war machine also included the carefully 
orchestrated war propaganda that all the combatant nations engaged in generously. 
Violent anti-German sentiments were fueled by a mass media that demonized the enemy 
for its reading public. Herbert David Croly's Committee on Public Information attempted 
successfully to propagandize the American war effort in the United States and around the 
world. The Wilson administration was capable of winning the public's confidence by 
extolling the virtues of the war in sustaining American ideals.'" The war was indeed a 
tragedy. Yet, a greater tragedy would be to lose Europe and the vast colonial empires to 
the Germans and the Austrians. 

' Cujf, War Industries Board, 191-219; U.S. War Industries Board, American Industry in the 
War (Washington, DC: GPO, 1921); U.S. War Industries Board, Munitions Industry (February, 
1919) (Washington, DC: GPO, 1935); Center of Military History, United States Army in the World 

''*Vaughn, Holding Fast the Inner Lines, 141-92; Frederick Henry Lynch, President Wilson 
and the Moral Aims of the War (New York: Fleming, 1918); Willis Fletcher Johnson, America and 
the Great War for Humanity and Freedom (Philadelphia: J. C. Winston, 1917). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

American Internationalism: Technocratic Principles 

The technocratic institutions and knowledge systems of the Great War were new and 
unrefined. Historical knowledge, based mainly on narrative and some descriptive 
statistics, was a primary basis for public policy analysis. The second decade of the 
twentieth century was early in the technocratic era. The concept of an international 
system governed by economic regimes and political laws had only emerged within the 
last hundred years. The mechanisms for managing a global system had only begun to be 
constructed. The nation-state itself, as a technocratic institutional system, had emerged 
prototypically in the progressive-era institution building in the United States. The Federal 
Reserve, the Interstate Commerce Commission, and the expanded functions of the State 
and War Departments were indeed very recent. The massive technocratic knowledge that 
would begin to emerge from American universities was still in the future when Wilson 
formulated his postwar vision for the international system. Nonetheless, the Wilson 
administration produced nearly two thousand reports on international topics to support its 
diplomatic mission to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. 

The Wilson administration viewed international political economy in classic liberal 
terms. Opening the protected cartels of the European empires through free trade would 
lay the basis for economic and political development and universal prosperity. Corporate 
capitalism, a product of industrialism, was viewed as a force for development and, 
ultimately, democracy. Wilson argued that international law would be able to establish a 
free-market international environment in which self-determination through representative 
government could thrive. This was the underlying framework of the Fourteen Points 
proposal for ending the Great War. Wilson's ideology and foreign policy were an 
articulation of a new form of internationalism. I have termed it technocratic 
internationalism, in the sense that the institutions and knowledge forms of the new age 
subscribed to a new concept of managerial control. The postwar plans for international 
law and commerce envisioned the skeletal framework for the new technocratic age. In 
sum, Wilsonianism represented a vision for an institutional and epistemological 
framework for a managed system of liberal internationalism.^^' 

Wilson emphasized the rule of law as the preferred mechanism for implementing 
social control over the international community. Treaty law would discipline a world that 
was infused with brutal militarism, as evidenced by the civilian atrocities committed by 
the Central Powers, unrestricted submarine warfare, and deadly weapons systems that 
both sides used against each other.'" Wilson thought a means of managing the great 
powers through law and diplomacy would build a sustainable international system. His 

'^Ambrosius, Woodrow Wilson, 136-71. 

Wilson, of course, was wrong, at least for the twentieth century. William R. Keylor, 
"Versailles and International Diplomacy, " in Manfred F. Boemeke, Gerald D. Feldman, and 
Elisabeth Glaser, eds.. The Treaty of Versailles: A Reassessment after 75 Years {New York: 
Cambridge University Press, 1998), 469-505; Arthur Pearson Scott, An Introduction to the Peace 
Treaties (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1920). 


The Great War 

administration's Committee on Public Inquiry worked prodigiously through 1917 and 
1918 to compile historical, economic, demographic, and political information for the 
eventual settlement of the war. In this framework, the technocratic was found in the 
organization of a managerial system for the governance of international relations. 
Irrespective of underlying destructive forces in national political cultures, Wilson's view 
was that war could be controlled, if not eliminated, by precise legal arrangements and 
controls. The world would be measured according to its adherence to quantifiable goals 
for democracy, economic development, and military compliance.^''' 

Technocratic planning involves the creation of carefully delineated documents — legal, 
economic, technical, and scientific — for the application of a system of control over 
institutions, resources, and people. The Versailles Treaty was exactly this. With more 
than four hundred separate provisions, it was highly compartmentalized and 
programmatic. It was compiled by "experts" assigned by the represented nations at the 
conference for the development of a thorough plan for war settlement. Separate national 
planning committees, which worked continuously over several months, composed the 
specific provisions for each aspect of the treaty. Each stipulation had clear intent: the 
effective control of German behavior in the postwar system."* The Versailles Treaty was 
amended by several hundred articles that set very clear restrictions on the economic, 
military, and political power of the postwar German state. All of the defeated powers 
ceded vast areas of territory. The empires of Turkey, Austria, and Germany were 
dismantled. In Eastern Europe, the successor states formed the modern nations of the 
region. In the Middle East, the Turkish possessions were surrendered to France and Great 
Britain under League of Nations mandates. In Africa, German colonies were surrendered 
to the same colonial powers. The few German islands in the Pacific were divided 
between the Japanese, British, and French. Of course, the terms of the war settlement 
required a full accounting of the security concerns of the victors. The new Europe, 
according to the victorious powers, needed to be built on a stable and pacific regional 
system in which the territorial disputes between nation-states would not escalate into a 
global power struggle. The creators of the treaty hoped, albeit in vain, to contain the 
German republic through the rationality of legal technocratic stipulations, as well as 
through the founding of the first global political body, the League of Nations."'' The 
Allies hoped that integrating Germany into the new international organization for 
collective defense and multilateral diplomacy, combined with the enforcement of the 

^Ambrosius, Woodrow Wilson, 47-55; Klaus Schwabe, Woodrow Wilson, Revolutionary 
Germany, and Peacemaking, 1918-1919: Missionary Diplomacy and the Realities of Power 
(Durham: University of North Carolina Press, 1985), 352-407; Gelfand, The Inquiry, 181-223. 

Schwabe, Woodrow Wilson, 352-94; Ambrosius, Woodrow Wilson, 107-30. 

Michael Graham Fry, "British Revisionism, " in Boemeke, Feldman, and Glaser, The Treaty 
of Versailles, 565-601; C. K. Webster, The League of Nations in Theory and Practice (London: 
Allen & Unwin, 1933). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

agreed restrictions on German rearmament by the organization, would save the world 
from future German aggression. History showed that this was not to happen.^"*" 

The Wilson administration opposed the severity of the treaty on obvious grounds. How 
could there be peace with humiliation? The Germans accepted the treaty because Allied 
demands were nonnegotiable. Despite the intentions of the great powers to produce a 
treaty and a postwar international system that would preserve world peace, the punitive 
provisions of Versailles were mandated by the magnitude of loss and the desire for 
retribution. Tragically, the Germans never accepted the fundamental nature of the 
agreement. Even before the rise of National Socialism, Germany had no intention of 
fawning forever to an enemy that had tried to starve its population, killed huge legions of 
its young men, forced the surrender of its overseas empire, and left the nation's economy 
and international prestige in a state of absolute humiliation. 

The technocratic script required precise definitions and numerical limits on German 
military power, as well as deep economic concessions. The military stipulations of the 
treaty (which were violated immediately) included strict limits on all military assets. The 
treaty limited the size of German warships to no more than ten thousand tons 
displacement while the other powers were building warships several times larger). The 
country, the second largest in Europe, was allowed a standing army of no more than a 
hundred thousand men. Severe limits were also placed on the types of airplanes and 
artillery the army could possess and in what quantities.'^' 

Economic punishment included the required reparation payments in many billions of 
marks and the ceding of the Rhineland valley and the large coalfields of the Ruhr to 
France (in compensation for the destruction of French coal mines in northeastern France). 
The Versailles Treaty was very particular in its requirements. Each of the hundreds of 
applicable amendments outlined specific legal controls on German military, economic, 
and political life. In this, the technocratic script was everywhere, from the statistical 
calculations of military and economic assets to the demographics of displaced European 
populations.^*' The engineering of the peace settlement emphasized the rationality and 
logic of law, science, and technology. What had been overlooked were the complex 

Sally Marks, The Illusion of Peace: International Relations in Europe, 1918-1933 (New 
York: St. Martin's Press, 1976). By 1935, the Versailles Treaty was a dead letter. At the 
announcement of the creation of a new Wehrmacht with thirty-six divisions, the German public was 

Special editions of newspapers were rushed out, eulogizing "the first great measure to liquidate 
Versailles, " the erasing of the shame of defeat, and the restoration of Germany's military standing. 
Delirious crowds gathered outside the Reich Chancellery cheering Hitler. (Kershaw, Hubris, 551) 

''' See Edward W. Bennett, German Rearmament and the West, 1932-1933 (Princeton, NJ: 
Princeton University Press, 1979), 11-77. 

'Sally Marks, "Smoke and Mirrors: In Smoke-Filled Rooms and the Galerie des Glaces, " in 
Boemeke, Feldman, and Glaser, The Treaty of Versailles, 337—70; Elizabeth Glaser, "The Making 
of the Economic Peace, " in ibid., 371—99; David Stevenson, "French War Aims and Peace 
Planning, " in ibid., 87-109; U.S. Government. Treaty of Versailles (1919) (Washington, DC: GPO, 


The Great War 

emotional demands that coercive treaties place on national populations. As a new 
generation of British and French citizens learned, the most stringent constraints placed 
upon a defeated enemy will not ensure his obedience. The appeasement of German power 
in the 1930s demonstrated the dangerous fallacies of belief in an international order based 
primarily on contractual relations between international adversaries. Without the political 
will to maintain involuntary constraints through the use of military force, no manner of 
diplomatic protest or negotiation would preserve the status quo. In many respects, the 
conflict between the desire for disarmament and peace in a rational international order 
and the stark reality of international relations mirrored the mind of President Wilson.^'*'' 
The former college professor and university president had the intellectual insight to 
recognize the important role that collective memory and comparative military strengths 
played in the international system. In his own life history, he had to weigh his intellectual 
attachment to analytical training in law and political science against his emotional 
attachment to Christianity and his stubborn, often called "rigid," belief in the rightness of 
his actions. ■'*'' 

The Russian Script 

While Wilson, Lloyd George, and Clemenceau were engaged at Versailles, the 
Russians were completing their own momentous revolution very independently. For 
centuries, Russia had been an insular nation. The West was kept at bay by the xenophobia 
of Russia's rulers and by the vast tracts of land that separated the cosmopolitan centers of 
Western and Central Europe from the Russian heartland. Beginning in the eighteenth 
century, the insularity that had maintained the semifeudal and authoritarian 
characteristics of imperial Russia was breached by the gradual acculturation of the 
Russian aristocracy and merchant class to the West. By the time of the Great War, the 
Russians were undergoing fairly rapid social, economic, and political change. ^""^ The 
Romanovs, under pressure from the new classes of workers, liberal thinkers, and radicals 
who had been gaining strength and numbers in Russia since the mid-nineteenth century, 
were in the process of providing a path of transition from the old absolutist state to an 
ordered liberty provided by a constitutional monarchy. Indeed, when Nicholas I was 
forced to abdicate in February 1917, the country had already been under a form of limited 
parliamentary rule since the revolution of 1905."'*^ The technocratic age bore down upon 
the Russian empire first with technological change and new independent intellectuals, 
and then with the war that forced the overthrow of four empires. The Russian Revolution 
brought the issues of industrial political economy and the old aristocracy to the center of 

^''^Ambrosius, Woodrow Wilson, 292-98; Knock, To End All Wars, 273. 

"*Ambrosius, Woodrow Wilson, 12-13, 211-41; Knock, To End All Wars, 194-226; 
Alexander L. George, Woodrow Wilson and Colonel House: A Personality Study (New York: J. 
Day, 1956), 268-313. 

^''^ Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 51-152; Abraham Ascher, P. A. Stolypin: The Search for 
Stability in Late Imperial Russia (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001), 264-362. 

"^ Pipes, Russian Revolution, 152-94; Ascher, Stolypin, 208-60. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

action. The new technocratic age could be liberal, as Western political leaders and 
industrialists viewed the future, or it could be socialist and authoritarian. In 
Wilsonianism, the world was shown the outlines of a liberal technocratic order in which 
democracy and capitalism would fashion a world system that would spread individualism 
and other Western concepts of modernization. The foundations of the liberal order 
depended upon the long-term prospects for the development of market economies and 
parliamentary-based governments. In Russia, the Marxist view of the liberal world came 
to power with Lenin. Instead of a liberal or capitalist world, the Marxist-Leninist 
ideology created the totalitarian socialist state. ^""^ 

Lenin's script combined the romantic, the technocratic, and the absolutist doctrines of 
Russian radicalism. The romantic in Lenin inspired his beliefs in revolution as an 
instrument of social justice or redemption. The technocratic in Lenin suggested a view of 
capitalism as part of Marx's science of history. Industrial — that is, technocratic — 
societies, according to the early communist revolutionaries, followed the laws of history. 
In their absolutism, Lenin and the other Bolsheviks modeled their behavior on that of 
Russia's royal house, which for centuries had not shared any real power with anyone but 

Lenin's beliefs and praxis eventually led him to make Russia the proving grounds for 
the establishment of the first proletarian state. Then the revolution would spread, or so he 
thought, to Eastern and Central Europe and ultimately around the world, ending 
capitalism and bringing the world into an age of socialist freedom for the common man. 
The party, a tightly disciplined doctrinal-based organization, would crush its opponents 
with absolute ruthlessness. Through discipline and calculated terror, Lenin proposed to 
create a new society. In this design were the founding elements of the modern totalitarian 
socialist state that Lenin's successor, Stalin, perfected for the Soviet Union and for export 
around the world.'"" 

^Robert Service, Lenin; A Biography (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 
391-434; Adam B. Ulam, The Bolsheviks: The Intellectual and Political History of the Triumph of 
Communism in Russia (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998), 477-93. According to 
Ulam, before a Comintern meeting Lenin denounced a foreign communist for asserting that the 
workers should not be made to suffer in a "worker's state" (p. 477). Richard Pipes, Russia under 
the Bolshevik Regime, 1919-1924 (London: Harvill, 1997), 240-435. Pipes made the point that 
communism and fascism were not so much polar opposites but "rivals for the same constituencies" 
(p. 240); Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 506-60. 
'■* Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 53-61. 

E. A. Rees, "Leaders and Their Institutions, " in Paul R. Gregory, ed., Behind the Facade of 
Stalin's Command Economy: Evidence from the Soviet State and Party Archives (Stanford, CA: 
Hoover Institution Press, 2001), 35-60; Sheila Fitzpatrick, Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in 
Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia during the 1930s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999) 
and Stalin's Peasants (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994); Philip Boobbyer, The Stalin Era 
(New York: Routledge, 2000), 30-99; Chris Ward, Stalin's Russia (New York: Oxford University 
Press, 2000), 138-47. 


The Great War 

Lenin accepted the concept introduced by Marx with respect to revolutionary change. 
In the view of Marx and Lenin, the existing institutions of a bourgeois society could not 
be reformed, as liberals would want. Rather, the only way to bring about the socialist 
society envisioned by Marx, Lenin, and other revolutionary socialists was to demolish the 
old institutions and establish worker and party control over the bastions of power. In 
Lenin's strict totalitarian ideology, the revolutionary state was a weapon to be used with 
vengeance. The pillars of the old regime needed to be not only dismantled but also 
destroyed, to the degree that counterrevolutionary activities would never occur. ^^^ Just as 
Hitler would do to Germany in scarcely half a generation, Lenin and his followers did to 
the remains of the Russian Empire. The Soviet Union, a nation-state and a technocratic 
institutional system of formidable totalitarian design, took a semifeudal, mainly agrarian 
society and, in due time, transformed it into a thoroughly militarized industrial state. Its 
political elites would be dedicated to the expansion of the state into every aspect of 
national life. They would also be completely committed, as a matter of revolutionary 
doctrine, to spreading the ideology of the state to every area of the world." ' 

The Great War was the essential catalyst for Russia's radicals to seize power from the 
czarist regime. The Russian script had begun to change in response to Russia's 
integration into the international economic system. Now, the capitalist modernization 
script was deeply traumatized by the massive land war with the Germans and the 
Austrians. Lenin seized power, taking the opportunity afforded by the shattering of both 
the old imperial and new modernization narratives. Lenin and his chief deputy, Leon 
Trotsky, organized the left into a military and ideological force to destroy the remnants of 
the old order and the new liberal regime. They consolidated power in Russia, much like 
the Nazis would do in Germany some fifteen years later. Once potential opponents had 
been liquidated, the revolution continued the practice of destruction. The new script 
formed out of the immolation of the old was still in most respects thoroughly Russian. 
The old script had organized society as a highly stratified traditional monarchy. The 
country was ruled by the czar and the hereditary classes of royal court subjects and 
landed nobility. The same authoritarian mentality pervaded the revolution. The Russians 
built their new script by discarding the liberal technocratic idea of capitalism and 
replacing it with the more Russian concepts of centralized authority, repression, and 
control. In a real sense, a totalitarian ideology had found a society predisposed to its 
precepts.' ' 

^ Service, Lenin, 394^31; James White, Lenin: The Practice and Theory of Revolution (New 
York: Palgrave, 2001), 129-202; Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 789-842. 

"'Allan Bullock, Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives (New York: Vintage Books, 1991), 423-563. 

' Pipes, The Russian Revolution, 1-52; Hans Rogger, Russia in the Age of Modernization and 
Revolution (London: Longman, 1983), 14-69; Martin McCauley and Peter Waldron, The 
Emergence of the Modern Russian State, 1855-81 (Totowa, NJ: Barnes & Noble Books, 1988); J. 
N. Westwood, Endurance and Endeavor: Russian History 1812-1992 (New York: Oxford University 
Press, 1993), 1-84; Dominic Lieven, Russia's Rulers under the Old Regime (New Haven, CT: Yale 
University Press, 1989). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

At the end of the war, Uttle was known that could be confirmed about the state of 
Russia. To contemporary observers, the revolution looked to be a strange and frightening 
transformation of the czar's empire. The end of the First World War had left Russia in a 
state of revolutionary chaos. Invaded by Western armies attempting to win a civil war for 
the counterrevolutionary forces, the Bolsheviks and their military force, the Red Army, 
fought to consolidate the revolution. ^^"^ True to the principles of Marxist revolution, Lenin 
moved to eviscerate the imperial legacy of the Romanovs but retain its territorial domain 
for the socialist state. Following the absolute dictates of Lenin, the communist machine, 
represented by its secret police, the Cheka, crushed regime opponents with absolute 
ruthlessness. Millions perished in the immediate postrevolutionary period, 1918 to 1921, 
many through starvation, but many others through execution. Lenin, Trotsky, and the rest 
of the communist leadership would implement a script formed by the confluence of 
radical ideology and the authoritarian culture traditional to Russia. The new Russian 
script would be the Soviet script. It would assimilate the old Russian authoritarian culture 
and the new technocratic ideology — the doctrine of Marxist thought and the imperial 
demeanor of a semifeudal empire. The technocratic organization of the Soviet Union was, 
part and parcel, implicit in the thinking of communist theorists and leaderships. Scientific 
socialism, the implementation of Marxist theory in the planning of society, was the sine 
qua non of the Bolshevik Revolution. How else could the Soviet Union survive if it did 
not challenge the advanced industrialism and scientific discoveries of the bourgeois 

In the course of the twentieth century, Marxism-Leninism became the ultimate 
technocratic planning system. That it failed in the end does not militate against the 
concept. Clearly, Marxist doctrine always has viewed the entire world in terms of the idea 
of production. In political analysis, a learned Marxist would always view the question of 
political control of production as the central objective of any regime. In the Russian 
context, the Marxist project worked toward the development of a "scientific socialism" 
for Russia and the world. Society would be both "liberated" and engineered. As the 
archaic and repressive structures of old Russia, including both state and civil society, fell 
to revolution, they would be replaced by the quintessential Marxist institution: the 
dictatorship of the proletariat. In postcapitalist Russia, the Bolsheviks believed the 
energies of the working class, repressed by wage labor under the bourgeoisie, would 
liberate society. Just as the Versailles Treaty attempted to structure a new European state 
system in which liberal capitalism could prosper without the danger of a new German 
militarism, so the Russian and now the Soviet script promised a postwar socialist state — 
indeed socialist world — rid of the evils of feudalism and capitalism.'" The Wilsonians 
viewed the Soviets as a primary threat to liberal internationalism. The Wilsonians 

^ Pipes, Russia under the Bolshevik Regime, 52-140; Ulam, The Bolsheviks, 449-76. 

' R. W. Davies, The Industrialization of Soviet Russia, 4 vols. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard 
University Press, 1980-1996); Mark Beissinger, Scientific Management, Socialist Discipline, and 
Soviet Power (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988), 35-90. 


The Great War 

believed the Soviets were more inspired by control than by freedom for the human spirit. 
Once more, the technocratic script divided between separate ideologies. On the one hand 
was the liberal view of an open world economic system, growing through the 
interdependence of markets of all kinds. On the other was the opposite view of 
modernity, the socialist alternative to capitalism. To make things somewhat more 
complicated, the extreme nationalist movements of the 1920s and 1930s formed a third 
class of ideology, namely, fascism. ^"^"^ 

The Failure of the Liberal Script 

As we have seen, Wilson and his small coterie of advisers worked continuously for six 
months to fashion a treaty that would redefine international relations. He was driven to 
establish a legal framework for the vision of progressive internationalism that captured 
world public opinion, the Fourteen Points. In the end, however, the final diplomatic 
arrangements required by Great Britain and France imposed an enormous punitive burden 
on the Germans. Further, the future framework was destined to be impractical without the 
full participation of the United States. The acknowledged victor and leader of the 
redeemer nation, Wilson, tragically lost at Versailles. He would see the crown of the 
treaty, the outline for the League of Nations, fail ratification in the Senate. He would not 
live to see the destructive war of the 1940s that was a direct result of the unfinished tasks 
of the Great War. He would live to see the consolidation of the Soviet state but not the 
sweeping ramifications of that revolution on twentieth-century history. In the end, of 
course, the liberal design for international order failed. The post-World War I 
international system was never to achieve the ordered liberty and prosperity envisioned 
by Wilsonian ideology.''' 

The Western metascript, built over several centuries on balance-of-power realism, 
lacked the institutional machinery for an effective postwar international system. Since the 
emergence of a community of nation-states in early modern Europe, international order 
had been premised upon the balance of power between major powers. Each nation-state, 
a conglomeration of groups and institutions, formed its narrative according to the 
intricate details of its national history. In effect, a country followed a pattern incorporated 
into its collective identity, that is, a historical script. The Great War affected a huge 
multinational narrative whose experiences followed a wide spectrum, from revolution 
and widespread destruction to the sustained victory that was the prize for Woodrow 
Wilson's America. Each nation involved in the Great War experienced through an 
unfolding of interior narratives, from antiwar to pro-war demonstrations and from 
deprivations and war traumas to political and social revolutions. The Wilsonian script for 
postwar peace, a fulfillment of the Enlightenment's vision for international relations, was 
not connected to the historical conditions of its time. It was a wish, a chimera of 

^ Ninkovich, The Wilsonian Century, 116-48; Roger Eatwell, Fascism: A History (New York: 
Allen Lane, 1996), 3-39; Stanley G. Payne, A History of Fascism, 1914-1945 (Madison: 
University of Wisconsin Press, 1995), 80-289. 

"^Ambrosias, Woodrow Wilson, 251-98; Knock, To End All Wars, 210-45. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

American exceptionalism that the world would never wholly accept, even if Woodrow 
Wilson or later Franklin Roosevelt were astride it.^^^ 

It was not feasible to create peace without a universal political culture that supported 
it. The war settlement would not bring peace and prosperity to Europe, or to the rest of 
the world. The Germans found themselves isolated and in large measure unrepentant. 
Even more radical in their rejection of the West were the Russians, who, as mentioned, 
watched as Allied armies converged on their homeland. The planning systems effected by 
nation states and empires were incapable of maintaining themselves in the face of rapid 
and often belligerent change. The masses of Asia and Africa, as well as the impoverished 
regions of the Americas and Europe, would not remain under the control of self-indulgent 
elites. There were too many contradictions in both liberalism and its counterpoised 
ideology, Marxism-Leninism, to create long-term stability. Perhaps this is why the 
interwar period was marked by such violent ideological competition between not two but 
three major political ideologies: liberalism, Marxism-Leninism, and what became known 
as various forms of fascism.''' 

Wilson, his health drastically affected by a stroke, would die in a brief retirement. His 
League of Nations, weakened by the lack of American membership, would collapse with 
the appeasement script of the 1930s. In the post-Wilsonian technocratic age, the 
institutional mechanisms, both public and private, for effective control of the 
international system were not present. The leaders of the interwar period would find that 
it was not possible to implement effective collective security and global systems of 
administration for nation-states when the tools for such management had not been 
created. The political divisions of the world remained not only extremely dangerous but 
mostly irreconcilable. It was impossible to reestablish genuine trust between the French 
and the Germans when each side had suffered so grievously and when German 
democracy was so new and fragile. ■^'' 

Instead of a just and peaceful world, the catastrophic experience of the First World 
War left an international system fragile and prone to destabilization. No amount of either 
corporate or progressive forms of internationalism in America could resolve the internal 
dynamics of totalitarianism, latent in postwar Germany and emergent in Lenin's Soviet 
Union. The war had not made democracy safe, to paraphrase Wilson, but, instead, had 
laid the basis for more sinister tyranny. Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia would 
emerge full-blown in their totalitarianism as the liberal empires of Western Europe and 

^ Ambrosius, Woodrow Wilson, 290-98; Knock, To End All Wars, 271-76; Howard Elcock, 
Portrait of a Decision: The Council of Four and the Treaty of Versailles (London: Eyre Methuen, 
1972), 298-324; Marks, Illusion of Peace, 75-136. 

' Moore, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy; A. James Gregor, The Faces of 
Janus: Marxism and Fascism in the Twentieth Century (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 
2000); Payne, A History of Fascism, 3-19. 

'^"Melvyn P. Leffler, The Elusive Quest: America's Pursuit of European Stability and French 
Security, 1919-1933 (Durham: University of North Carolina Press, 1979); Erich Eyck, A History 
of the Weimar Republic, 2 vols. (New York: Atheneum, 1972), 1:161-95, 2:448-85. 


The Great War 

North America searched for a way to cope with their rise. The liberal script would have 
to compete with the Leninist and fascist scripts, which, like democratic liberalism, shared 
origins within Western history and culture. With the failure of ratification of membership 
in the League of Nations in the U.S. Senate, and the subsequent political defeat of 
Wilsonian internationalism in the United States, the liberal script had lost an effective 
means of maintaining the postwar system. ^^' 

This did not mean that the liberal technocratic order ended with Wilson's failed treaty 
ratification. On the contrary, despite the animus directed at him by his Republican 
opponents, the basic framework for postwar corporate internationalism was found in the 
provisions for war settlement in Europe. American diplomats and corporate executives 
would work throughout the ensuing decades to promote the commercial and diplomatic 
accords they believed were necessary to develop a global capitalist economy. This was 
Wilsonian internationalism in practice. The expansion of international institutions and the 
continued development of the scientific-industrial epistemologies of the technocratic age 
remained and, indeed, flourished. Yet, the failure to mobilize American leadership 
sufficiently in the interwar period promised yet another turn in the national script, as 
global depression and a second world war confronted the neo-Wilsonian age and the 
emergent liberal technocratic order.'" 

^^'Leffler, Elusive Quest, 231-315; Raymond J. Sontag, A Broken World, 19 19-1939 (New 
York: Harper & Row, 1971), 269-381. 

'"iriye. The Globalization of America, 116-48; Ninkovich, The Wilsonian Century, 78-182; 
Knock, To End All Wars, 271-76; Amhrosius, Woodrow Wilson, 290-98. 


Chapter III 
The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

The Script Turns: Divergent Paths 

In American history, the years between the First and Second World Wars were a 
tumultuous interlude marked by social change and economic and foreign policy crises. 
The social change was profound. Within the space of one generation, American society 
developed a modern urban culture. The machine civilization produced the Jazz Age and 
Prohibition. It was also a time for the expansion of modernism in the literature of 
Faulkner, Pound, Eliot, Joyce, Dos Passos, and other literary radicals. Modern scientific 
thought emerged in the popular consciousness with the Scopes Trial on the teaching of 
Darwin's theory of evolution. In a country whose core values were born within the 
Christian cultures of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century post-Reformation Europe, there 
began an elite movement to absorb the intellectual ferment of contemporary secular 
consciousness. Scientists and intellectuals influenced by the thought of Freud, Marx, 
Darwin, and Einstein shaped the cognitive landscape of the 1920s and 1930s. In the midst 
of a popular culture that impressed the world with Charlie Chaplin, Mae West, W. C. 
Fields, and Shirley Temple, the elite consciousness of university intellectuals envisaged a 
new century of modern and postmodern thought. Beyond the popular medium of 
Hollywood, which was representative of the period, a new era continued its evolutionary 
course, building on the radical notions of the technocratic age. 

After the stock market crash and the Great Depression, the new age collided with the 
radical politics of the 1930s, pulling the world into the cataclysm of the Second World 
War. Modernism, born earlier in the century, developed into its mature form. 
Internationally, the world was being swept with change. The myopic view of Americans 
insulated by their traditional doctrine of hemispheric isolation was shattered by the rise of 
fascism. The voice of Adolf Hitler, carried by shortwave radio, became a formidable 
challenge to the liberal order. Ultimately, the period, in terms of international relations, 

Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

was a bridge between the first and second catastropliic wars of tlie century. The tumult 
restructured the modern world and accelerated the path of the technocratic script.^^^ 

The period itself was complex, bifurcated along the lines of the Great Depression. 
The 1920s seemed to have marked the onset of modernism as a mature form. It was in the 
first decade after the collapse of the old European society that industrialism and 
technocracy began to define the modern state and society. The 1930s were not a 
regression from the 1920s, but a transition to institutional crises. The particular failings of 
the first postwar decade were visited upon the second. Postwar capitalism, with new 
muscular corporations, lacked the technocratic expertise to prevent the enormous crisis of 
the Great Depression. The system did not just flounder; it shuddered — a result of 
misunderstood structural economic faults that later generations of technocrats would fix 
with the mathematical models of economic science.'" 

For modernism in the United States, see Hugh Witemeyer, ed., The Future of Modernism 
(Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997); Norman F. Cantor, The American Century: 
Varieties of Culture in Modem Times (New Yoric: HarperCollins, 1997); Steven Watson, Prepare 
for Saints: Gertrude Stein, Virgil Thomson, and the Mainstreaming of American Modernism (New 
York: Random House, 1998); Wanda M. Corn, The Great American Thing: Modern Art and 
National Identity, 1915-1935 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999); Michael Thomas 
Carroll, Popular Modernity in America: Experience, Technology, Mythohistory (Albany: State 
University of New York Press, 2000); Susan Hegemen, Patterns for America: Modernism and the 
Concept of Culture (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999); Jeffrey L. Meikle, Twentieth 
Century Limited: Industrial Design in America, 1925-1939 (Philadelphia: Temple University 
Press, 2001); Olivier Zunz, "Producers, Brokers, and Users of Knowledge: The Institutional 
Matrix," in Ross, Modernist Impulses in the Human Sciences, 1870-1930 (Baltimore: Johns 
Hopkins University Press, 1994), 280-303; Mark C. Smith, In the Crucible: The American Debate 
over Objectivity and Purpose, 1918-1941 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994); Morton 
White, Social Thought in America: The Revolt against Formalism, rev. ed. (New York: Oxford 
University Press, 1976); Novick, That Noble Dream, 133-278; Noble, America by Design and 
Forces of Production: A Social History of Industrial Automation (New York: Knopf, 1984). 

Peter Temin, Lessons from the Great Depression (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989); Elmus 
Wicker, The Banking Panics of the Great Depression (New York: Cambridge University Press, 
1989). For a monetarist view of the Great Depression as a deflationary spiral that began in 
Europe, see H. Clark Johnson, Gold, France, and the Great Depression, 1919-1932 (New Haven, 
CT: Yale University Press, 1997), 11^3, 177-86; Mark Thomas, ed.. The Disintegration of the 
World Economy between the World Wars, 2 vols. (Brookfield, VT: Elgar, 1996); John A. Garraty, 
The Great Depression (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986); Rosenof Economics in the 
Long Run. Another view of the Great Depression has been proposed by the Schumpeterian school 
of evolutionary economics. Evolutionary theory suggests that the depression was one of the "long 
waves" (Kontratiev waves) that link economic behavior over many decades. The Great Depression, 
according to contemporary thought in this field, was a result of the adoption or evolution of the 
mass production system as the paradigm for twentieth-century industrialism. The "structural 
adjustment" to that paradigm caused the world economic crisis of the 1930s. See Chris Freeman 
and Francisco Louca, As Time Goes By: From the Industrial Revolution to the Information 
Revolution (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 259-65. 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

However, in both decades, events and processes of seminal importance maintained tlie 
tectonic shifts of the twentieth century. Economists learned the workings of the business 
cycle, while physicists and chemists learned the structure of atomic-level science and 
began the revolution that resulted in the nuclear age of the Cold War. Likewise, the seeds 
of cybernetics and the electronic computer were found in laboratories in the United States 
and Great Britain. In Germany, rocket science began its evolution to the first ballistic 
weapons of the Second World War, and later, the beginning of the space age. The 
embryonic workings of the technocratic explosions of the Cold War were found in the 
interwar generation. In the context of a world of continuing international conflict and 
rivalry, the use of science for war was of paramount importance. The liberal order, so 
supportive of the secular scientific projects of the modern period, found itself under the 
threat of the military-scientific complexes of Nazi Germany and, to a lesser extent, the 
Soviet Union.^''^ 

From 1919 until the world economic crisis of the late 1920s, the technocratic age 
expanded with new inventions and the phenomenal growth of mass communications. 
Significantly, the development of new ideas in atomic physics, such as nuclear fission, 
and the basic theories of cybernetics for machine intelligence, had vastly important 
implications for civilization. However, for most of the interwar period, the military view 
of international relations was held in disdain by an international public that remembered 
the destructiveness of the First World War. The League of Nations continued without the 
membership of the United States. However, Wilson's legacy in America perpetuated the 
vigorous American desire for a Wilsonian world of expanding international trade and 
investment and the peaceful adjudication of international conflicts.'" 

^Wilhelm Deist, ed., The German Military in the Age of Total War, 6 vols. (Dover, NH: Berg, 
1985-2000); Barton Whaley, Covert German Rearmament, 1919-1939: Deception and 
Misperception (Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, 1984); Gary Hyland and 
Anton Gill, Last Talons of the Eagle: Secret Nazi Technology Which Could Have Changed the 
Course of World War II (London: Headline, 1998); Ian V. Hogg, German Secret Weapons of the 
Second World War: The Missiles, Rockets, Weapons, and New Technology of the Third Reich 
(London: Greenhill Books, 1999); David R. Stone, Hammer and Rifle: The Militarization of the 
Soviet Union, 1926-1933 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000); Sally W. Stoecker, 
Forging Stalin's Army: Marshal Tukhachevsky and the Politics of Military Innovation (Boulder, 
CO: Westview Press, 1998); Vitalii Shlykov, Plans for Stalin's War Machine: Tukachevskii and 
Military-Economic Planning, 1925-1941 (New York: Macmillan, 1999); Walter S. Dunn Jr., The 
Soviet Economy and the Red Army, 1930-1945 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1995). 

The protectionist proclivities of successive Republican administrations militated against 
Wilsonian principles of free trade; nonetheless, an internationalist perspective continued to frame 
Republican foreign policy in the 1920s, including the goals of financial stability and arms control. 
Iriye, The Globalization of America, 73-115; Frank Costigliola, Awkward Dominion: American 
Political, Economic, and Cultural Relations with Europe, 1919-1933 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell 
University Press, 1984), 76-217; Robert David Johnson, The Peace Progressives and American 
Foreign Relations (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995); Joan Hoff, American 
Business and Foreign Policy, 1920-1933 (Boston: Beacon Press, 1973), 105-235; Cynthia A. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

The Republican ascendancy of the 1920s brought a decidedly pro-business climate to 
the national government and to U.S. foreign relations. The Republican administrations of 
the 1920s made it a priority to support the expansion of American business around the 
world. The growth of multinational corporations projected American business interests 
across the Atlantic and the Pacific. The postwar corporate ideal reflected a belief in the 
utilitarian mastery of economic and political life by executives and engineers trained in 
the organizational methods of industrial planning and control. The vast inequities of 
economic class and the imperial nature of the international system under the League of 
Nations did not offend the sensibilities of conservative American statesmen and business 
managers, who viewed the corporate framework for development as a logical and 
scientific approach to global progress. ^^^ 

Corporate optimism about the use of markets to establish economic worth and 
efficiency was matched with an equal enthusiasm for a rational application of 
management in strategic affairs. In this regard, the arms control conferences of the 1920s 
reflected the postwar script for a comprehensive means of avoiding war between the great 
powers. The careful balance of power written into the naval agreements corresponded 
with the postwar economic management of war reparations. Charles Dawes, Coolidge's 
secretary of the treasury, came to the rescue of Europe in 1924 with the restructuring of 
German war debt. The combined actions of arms control and high-level economic 
assistance suggested a world of progress under the aegis of Anglo-American economic 
and political power."* 

However, with the sudden collapse of major world economies at the end of the 1920s, 
the neo-Wilsonian liberal order, so promising in the 1920s, was replaced by the 
ideological struggles of the 1930s. The rise of National Socialism in Germany and the 
related extreme nationalist movements in Italy, Spain, Japan, and elsewhere in the world, 
combined with the Stalinist movement in the Soviet Union, created alternative visions of 
the West's future. The liberal order of the 1930s had totalitarian ideologies challenging 
its legitimacy from both the extreme right and the extreme left of the political spectrum. 
The script for Western and world civilization was being contested by the rival systems 
and their leaderships. Hitler, Stalin, and the leaders of the liberal West, including, as the 

Hody, The Politics of Trade: American Political Development and Foreign Economic Policy 
(Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1996), 77-104. 

^^^Hody, The Politics of Trade; Iriye, The Globalization of America, 88-102; Hogan, Informal 
Entente, 78-104; Rosenberg, Financial Missionaries to the World, 187-95; Robert F. Burk, The 
Corporate State and the Broker State (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990), 1-65. 

Stephen Schuker, The End of French Predominance in Europe: The Financial Crisis of 1924 
and the Adoption of the Dawes Plan (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1976), 131- 
71; Costigliola, Awkward Dominion, 114-26; George Percival, The Dawes Plan and the New 
Economics (New York: Doubleday, 1928); Roger Dingman, Power in the Pacific: The Origins of 
Naval Arms Limitation, 1914—1922 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976); Christopher 
Hall, Britain, America, and Arms Control, 1921-37 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1976), 1-58; 
Robert Ferrell, Peace in Their Time: The Origins of the Kellogg-Briand Pact fA^ew York: Norton, 
1952); Hogan, Informal Entente, 67-77. 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

Second World War began, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, vied for power in 
the technocratic age — an epoch that all understood promised exponential change.^''' 

Postwar Wilsonianism 

In a sense, ideologically, the liberal technocratic system of the interwar period began 
with Woodrow Wilson and ended with him. The start of world war in Europe did not end 
Wilsonian idealism; rather, it carried forward through the Second World War and 
beyond. Franklin Roosevelt, who served in Wilson's administration as undersecretary of 
the Navy, projected his vision. 

Like his predecessors and his successors, Woodrow Wilson projected his personality 
onto American foreign relations. Wilson reflected the essence of American culture and 
nationality. As Lloyd Ambrosius thoroughly documented in his study of Wilson's foreign 
policy, he embodied a belief in the redemptive mission of the nation. In his thinking 
about world affairs, Woodrow Wilson did not distinguish between Americanism and 
Christianity. They were inseparable elements of the moral philosophy he inscribed in his 
political thought."" In his personal script as an American president, he promoted the 
tenets of an internationalism that challenged political realism as well as the military 
framework for projecting national power in a hostile world. Despite his antimilitarist 
doctrines, he won the First World War and was the most eminent and influential global 
leader at the end of that conflict. Yet, despite his international preeminence, the country 
had enough of Wilson after he lost the fight for treaty ratification and suffered the stroke 
that left him irreparably brain damaged. The redeemer nation rejected Wilson's party in 
the 1920 election, forcing his coalition out of office in a presidential and congressional 
landslide."' Yet, Wilson's fervent idealism was a genuine reflection of his American 
culture. Its promise of universal democracy and virtuous peace would take different 
forms in the rhetoric and substantive policies of national administrations, but Wilson's 
mission would always be there. There would always be a general orientation toward a 
redemptive American mission, whether within the United States itself or in the nation's 
encounters with the world. American historiography, from the early national period to the 

Payne, A History of Fascism. Payne views Hitler's ideology and racial views as entirely 
modem, a product of the Enlightenment (p. 203). Michael Halberstam, Totalitarianism and the 
Modern Concept of Politics (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999), 36-55; Hannah 
Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979); Kershaw, 
Nemesis, 3-60; Ian Kershaw, The "Hitler Myth": Image and Reality in the Third Reich (New York: 
Oxford University Press, 2001), 48-82; Robert Conquest, Stalin: Breaker of Nations (London: 
Phoenix Giant, 1998); Ronald Grigor Suny, "Stalin and His Stalinism: Power and Authority in the 
Soviet Union, 1930-1953, " in Ian Kershaw and Moshe Lewin, eds., Stalinism and Nazism: 
Dictatorships in Comparison (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 26-52; Michael 
Mann, "The Contradictions of Continuous Revolution, " in ibid., 135-57; Graeme Gill, The Origins 
of the Stalinist Political System (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990). 

"'Knock, To End All Wars, 8-13. 

'"Eugene P. Trani and David L. Wilson, The Presidency of Warren G. Harding (Lawrence: 
University Press of Kansas, 1977), 3-10. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

present, has shown that this was the script embedded in American character, reflective of 
the ideology of the founding Protestant cultures in the earliest years of English North 
American settlement. ^'^ 

Redemption was also embedded, albeit subtly, in the corporate internationalism of the 
interwar period. Rejecting Wilson's idealism, the Republican presidents of the 1920s 
followed a foreign policy that emphasized the basic principles of the Wilsonian design. 
The country sponsored disarmament, pacifist peace treaties, the expansion of 
international trade, and the refinancing of German war debt. The Republican script 
wanted American business to expand abroad; it wanted a stable international system built 
on capitalism and the technological progress of the new scientific and managerial age. 
Yet, the country, in the 1920s, was in the paradoxical position of sponsoring the creation 
of the new international system and rejecting its own participation in it. Wilson's 
expansive internationalist ideology shaped the architecture of the League of Nations.'" 
However, with the failure of ratification in the U.S. Senate, the League's future course 
was then found wanting. How, in a turbulent world, could an international organization 
maintain order without the power and influence of the most powerful nation?"* The 
conflict within American culture, interpreted by the Harvard historian Louis Hartz at 
mid-century, between the insularity and safety of a nationalist isolationism and the 
country's mission to the world as progenitor of liberal internationalism was unresolved 
with the end of the First World War. The conflict moved into the new era after the 
collapse of German, Austrian, and Russian power in Europe with a mixture of traditional 
American antimilitarism and the business internationalism of a growing cosmopolitan 
corporate culture. The liberal technocratic script continued its construction of a mirrored 
world of skyscrapers and ocean liners, steel mills and oil refineries. The script entailed 
not only building the physical structures for modern times; it was also constructing the 
epistemic systems, the scientific and technical knowledge, that would work through the 
engines of capitalism's institutions to create the new culture of the twentieth century. All 
of this activity, intellectual and physical in nature, was transforming, indeed creating, the 
"American" century.'" 

Clearly, the massive European land warfare of the teens had changed the world. In 
just half a decade, it had moved the cultural, political, and strategic space of Europe onto 

"Vo/!« Milton Cooper Jr., Breaking the Heart of the World: Woodrow Wilson and the Fight 
for the League of Nations (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 10-54. 

"*lbid., 412-33; F. S. Northedge, The League of Nations: Its Life and Times, 1920-1946 (New 
York: Holmes & Meier, 1986), 278-92; Warren F. Kuehl and Lynne K. Dunn, Keeping the 
Covenant: American Internationalists and the League of Nations, 1920-1939 (Kent, OH: Kent State 
University Press, 1997), 64-89. 

"Louis Hartz, The Liberal Tradition in America: An Interpretation of American Political 
Thought since the Revolution (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1955); Henry R. Luce, The American 
Century (New York: Time, 1941); Howard Segal, Technological Utopianism in American Culture 
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 120-55; Noble, America by Design, 227-354; Ross, 
Origins of American Social Science, 420-58. 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

a new level, defined more by technocratic concepts of power. Europe and the world were 
now in a different age that unleashed new forces on the international system. 
Revolutionary socialism and different forms of its right-wing ideological mirror, fascism, 
imparted new and terrifying concepts of modernity and modernization. Soon, the new 
age, which began with the promise of the League of Nations, would face its antitheses in 
Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, and Stalin. America, the great power of the New World, was now 
the world's most important country. The nation of Protestant redemption superseded its 
Old World cousins, Britain, France, and Germany. This new age of industrialism and 
now postindustrialism suggested that national power was more and more a function of 
technological — that is, technocratic — knowledge applied to the military and economic 
spheres. The technocratic came in the form of ideas, such as physics applied to military 
science, and the mathematical structure of the business system. It also came in the form 
of new institutions, dedicated to the construction of this new postmonarchy world. ^"^ 

The end of the First World War and the ensuing war settlement period left a very new 
organizational environment for international affairs. Ostensibly, it was more stable than 
the pre-1914 balance-of-power system. Born in the 1920s were new international 
institutions that together with the burgeoning fields of law and social science gave 
cosmopolitan leaderships an authentically modern technocratic consciousness. The 
practice of international relations now combined an increasing body of law with astute 
concerns for global strategic and economic questions. In the 1920s, the strategic balance 
of power was examined during disarmament conferences in Washington and London. 
Further, the economic arrangements for stabilizing and supporting the world economy 
were negotiated by the great powers with the intention of maintaining a viable system of 
global development. In a range of areas within international relations, the 1920s 
represented a genuine professional and utilitarian perspective on international order. 
From the view of a new managed international system, based upon international law and 
corporate internationalism, the world had clearly entered a new age. It had departed from 
the Machiavellian and Metternichian traditions of earlier centuries. Now the nascent 

^ P. J. P. Millican and A. Clark, eds., The Legacy of Alan Turing, 2 vols. (New York: Oxford 
University Press, 1996): John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and 
Money (London: Macmillan, 1936): Sandro Petruccioli, Atoms, Metaphors, and Paradoxes: Niels 
Bohr and the Construction of a New Physics fA'ew York: Cambridge University Press, 1993): 
Jagdish Mehra and Helmut Rechenberg, The Completion of Quantum Mechanics, 1926-1941 
(New York: Springer, 2000): John Stachel, Einstein from "B" to "Z" (Boston: Birkhauser, 2002): 
Moy, War Machines, 163-77: Mowery and Rosenberg, Paths of Innovation; Gordon Bussey, 
Wireless: The Crucial Decade: History of the British Wireless Industry, 1924-34 (London: P. 
Peregrinus, 1990): J- E- Kaufmann and H. W. Kaufmann, The Sleeping Giant: American Armed 
Forces between the Wars (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996): Richard Rhodes, ed.. Visions of 
Technology: A Century of Vital Debate about Machines, Systems, and the Human World (New 
York : Simon & Schuster, 1999). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

liberal internationalism of the 1920s hoped to never revisit the destruction that the last 
war had brought upon Europe.^" 

In comparison to traditional great power realism, the neo-Wilsonian perspective on 
international relations was less Eurocentric and more global. It was less aristocratic and 
more "scientific" in approach. It was a thoroughly American ideology that marked the 
world's and America's new script. Irrespective of emerging concerns in Asia and Eastern 
and Central Europe, the technocratic age of the 1920s marked the preeminent ascendancy 
of the United States as the leader of the global revolution, not only in commerce but also 
in the intellectual foundations of postmodern technocratic civilization. The new epoch 
had a dynamic narrative framework that combined all the elements of twentieth-century 
modernism: technology, science, capitalism, and liberalism. The American narrative 
involved the development of a unique cosmopolitan technocratic liberalism, represented 
by the newest American forms of industry and technical invention. These included, 
principally, mass production technology, mass communications, feats of aviation by 
Charles Lindbergh, and, in general, the emerging American scientific enterprise, which 
promised ongoing advances in engineering and the physical sciences. Now, if there was 
to be an American century, its genesis was clearly in the confluence of American 
internationalism and the economic and technical achievements of a robust national 

Nonetheless, over the long term, the growth of Americanism in world culture, while 
beneficial, would not be sufficient to ensure, as Immanuel Kant had proposed in 1795, a 
"perpetual peace" in the international system. From all points of observation during the 

^^Shabtai Rosenne, The Law and Practice of the International Court, 1920-1996, 4 vols. 
(Cambridge, MA: Kluwer Law, 1997); J. H. Carpentier Alting and W. de Cock Buning, The Effect 
of the War upon the Colonies (New Haven, CT: Carnegie Endowment, 1928); Carnegie 
Endowment for International Peace, Economic and Social History of the World War (New Haven, 
CT: Carnegie Endowment, 1926); League of Nations, Armaments Truce (Geneva: League of 
Nations, 1931); League of Nations, Conference for the Limitation of Naval Armaments (Geneva: 
League of Nations, 1927); John Maurer, "Arms Control and the Washington Conference, " in Erik 
Goldstein and John Maurer, eds.. The Washington Conference, 1921-22: Naval Rivalry, East 
Asian Stability and the Road to Pearl Harbor (Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 1994), 267-93; 
Conference on the Limitation of Armament: Washington, November 12, 1921-February 6, 1922 
(Washington, DC: GPO, 1922); Hall, Britain, America, and Arms Control, 193-218; Akira Iriye, 
After Imperialism: The Search for a New Order in the Far East, 1921-1931 (Cambridge, MA: 
Harvard University Press, 1965), 13—21. 

' Rosenberg, Financial Missionaries to the World, 151-218; Ellis W. Hawley, "Herbert 
Hoover, the Commerce Secretariat and the Vision of an 'Associative State, ' 1921—1928, " in 
Himmelberg, Business-Government Cooperation, 150-74; Derek H. Aldcroft, From Versailles to 
Wall Street, 1919-1929 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), 97-155, 187-216; Andre 
Siegfried, America Comes of Age: A French Analysis (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1927); Denny 
Ludwell, America Conquers Britain: A Record of Economic War (New York: Knopf, 1930); Paul 
Mazur, American Prosperity: Its Causes and Consequences (New York: Viking, 1928); Robert 
Sobel, The Age of Giant Corporations: A Microeconomic History of American Business, 1914- 
1992 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993), 25-51. 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

1920s, there were apparent structural deficiencies built into the interwar system that 
presaged its collapse.^™ The political world beyond America was far too complex and 
full of nuance to obey simple formulas. In the aftermath of the destabilizing effects of the 
First World War, the world was more divided and open to change. The multiplicity of 
demographic, ethnocultural, and socioeconomic conditions, along with historical rivalries 
affecting the world's many regions, predicted political divisions rather than American- 
style stability and homogeneity.'*" Europe was just barely able to feed itself and had to 
rely on American food aid to prevent famine. In light of all of these difficulties, the new 
civic virtues of democracy were extremely fragile everywhere. The colonial regions now 
simmered with anti-imperial sentiments encouraged by the ideology of Woodrow Wilson. 
Indian, Arab, African, and East Asian nationalists demanded national sovereignty, while 
the European mother countries, still convinced of imperialism's benefits, were 
oblivious.'*' As the Great War had taught the world, the apotheosis of the West and the 
advent of a liberal technocratic age in the twentieth century also burned with tragedy. In 
those tragedies lay the seeds of the brutal narratives of the 1930s and 1940s, in which 
mass deaths from famines, executions, and warfare reorganized the international system 
and redefined the technocratic age. How difficult keeping the peace would be was not 
apparent in the first decade after the war. International arms control and public finance 
controlled by the United States attempted to stabilize the international system and 
promote the market and the rule of law. As soon as the Great Depression hit, a decade 
after Versailles, it was clear to all rational observers that what had been planned for 
international peace and global development was lacking in every respect.'*' 

In the immediate postwar period, the most salient counternarratives for European 
culture were the movements toward revolutionary socialism. The 1920s were not only a 
time for the implementation of corporate capitalism and mass production technologies in 

^^^Thomas E. Hall and J. David Ferguson, The Great Depression: An International Disaster of 
Perverse Economic Policies (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998), 31-90; Mark 
Wheeler, ed., The Economics of the Great Depression (Kalamazoo, Ml: W. E. Upjohn Institute for 
Employment Research, 1998); Dietmar Rothermund, The Global Impact of the Great Depression 
(New York: Routledge, 1996), 1-58. 

' Frank H. Simonds, Can Europe Keep the Peace? (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1931); 
Peter Drucker, End of Economic Man: A Study of the New Totalitarianism (New York: John Day, 
1939); Richard Lamb, The Drift to War, 1922-1939 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991); Sontag, 
A Broken World; David Clay, Between Two Fires: Europe's Path in the 1930s (New York: Norton, 
1990); Stephen J. Lee, The European Dictatorships 1918-1945 (London: Routledge, 1988). 

John Callaghan, Great Power Complex: British Imperialism, International Crises, and 
National Decline, 1914-51 (London: Pluto Press, 1997); Rudolf von Albertini, European Colonial 
Rule, 1880-1940: The Impact of the West on India, Southeast Asia, and Africa (Westport, CT: 
Greenwood Press, 1982), 488-514; Shashi Joshi, Struggle for Hegemony in India, 1920-47: The 
Colonial State, the Left and the National Movement, 3 vols. (Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1992- 

■" Sontag, A Broken World, 236-350; Lamb, The Drift to War, 69-192; Clay, Between Two 
Fires, 23-136. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

manufacturing. In international liistory, they were also the period for the practical 
implementation of socialism, based upon the radical social science of Karl Marx and his 
legions of intellectual and political heirs. Revolutionary socialists were active all over 
Europe as well as spreading the gospel throughout the colonial world, as the imperial 
systems of the prewar era showed no signs of establishing genuine independence for their 
captive subjects. The drive to overthrow capitalism in all its forms had gained currency in 
most areas of Europe, but far and away the most important event had occurred in Russia. 
The 1920s were indeed the founding era for the world's first revolutionary socialist state, 
the Soviet Union. Soviet communism, developed by Lenin and his subordinates in the 
Communist Party, was an attempt at building the "scientific socialism" espoused by Marx 
and Marxist theoreticians. ^^^ 

In the works of Lenin, who contributed his theory of imperialism to international 
communist doctrine, revolutionary socialism had an ideology that countered, at the most 
elemental level, the legitimacy of the liberal technocratic order. In a real sense, it was the 
counterscript to the West's millenarian belief in the power of the market. By doctrine and 
institutional fiat, it rejected in total the idea of agency afforded individuals in a market 
society. It found in capitalism a global system of imperialism that was destined for 
destruction. An ideological schism developed between the liberals in Europe and North 
America, who defended and championed the market and parliamentary rule, and the 
believers in the new socialist state, who proposed to restructure industrialism by 
eliminating private ownership and adopting centralized (and quite autocratic) planning. In 
retrospect, the Leninist and later Stalinist concept of the state did not immediately 
challenge the liberal order. However, revolutionary socialism appeared to be quite 
dangerous to contemporary observers. Its growing presence and ruthlessness established 
itself between the liberal order on the one hand and the emerging right-wing totalitarian 
movements on the other.' *^ 

The fierce antagonism between liberal capitalism and Marxism-Leninism reverberated 
from the Bolshevik Revolution through more than seven decades of world history. 
Ideologies mirrored intertwined scripts, national and multinational, that defined the long 
Cold War from 1917 through 1990. The institutional and cultural systems of capitalism 

August Bebel, Society of the Future (Moscow: Progress, 1971); Charles H. Vail, The 
Principles of Scientific Socialism (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 1906); Ulam, The Bolsheviks, 449- 
514; Nikolai Bukharin, The ABC of Communism: A Popular Explanation of the Program of the 
Communist Party of Russia (London: Communist Party of Great Britain, 1922); Maxim Litvinojf, 
The Bolshevik Revolution: Its Rise and Meaning (Chicago: Socialist Party of the United States, 
1920); William T. Goode, Bolshevism at Work (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920); 
Ryder, The German Revolution of 1918, 88-236; Friedlander, The German Revolution of 1918. 
The seeds of Chinese communism were planted by Lenin. See Alexander Pantsov, The Bolsheviks 
and the Chinese Revolution, 1919-1927 (Richmond, VA: Curzon, 2000), 41-69. 

Lenin, The State and Revolution; V. I. Lenin, The Experience of the CPSU: Its World 
Significance (Moscow: Progress, 1975); Lenin, Imperialism; V. I. Lenin, The Immediate Tasks of 
the Soviet Government (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1951); Arendt, Origins of 
Totalitarianism, 305-88. 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

and Soviet-style socialism opposed one another, denigrating each other's existence 
through the 1920s and the Great Depression. Then, during the Second World War, a 
historical moment of alliance against the Nazi war machine inspired effective coalition 
warfare by the two rivals. Yet, after the brief period of alliance against Nazism, they were 
dangerous adversaries once again through decades of postmodern development. Through 
the Korean and Vietnam wars, the arms race, and the multitude of other conflicts between 
capitalist and Marxist countries that characterized the Cold War, the liberal and the 
communist camps were connected in the global metascript. The rivalry between these 
two ideologies, and their corresponding scripts, was engendered by the genuine 
transnational political (class) alignments of the technocratic age.^^"^ 

The class divisions institutionalized in the political systems of liberal democracies 
existed prior to the Great War and the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. They also existed 
after the destruction of the old order in Europe and the introduction of the postwar 
Wilsonian system of the 1920s. Around the globe propertied and professional classes 
were aligned against the political and economic interests of labor. In the technocratic era, 
with the Russian revolution, seedbeds for aggressive labor radicalism spread throughout 
the international system. The international communist movement promised to foment 
challenges to the liberal order in both the imperial home countries of the West and their 
colonial empires. The new institution for international order, namely, the League of 
Nations, tempered all of this. Neo-Wilsonians everywhere hoped that the prosperity and 
freedom of liberalism would surmount Leninism. They hoped that the challenges posed 
by revolutionary socialism would be overcome by enlightened leaderships who would not 
abandon their countries to communist doctrine for the liberation of colonial peoples. The 
challenges posed by Lenin and the Communist Party of the newly formed Soviet Union 
gathered credibility over time. From the left perspective, the postwar international system 
not only threatened the continuation of widespread poverty and political 
disenfranchisement in the colonies. It also promoted the consolidation of American and 
European capital in the liberal West's drive to perpetuate capitalist hegemony. The only 
solution then, from the point of view of the left, was the overthrow of capitalism and the 
liberal bourgeois order. In itself, this systemic ideological rejection of the liberal 
establishment was nothing new. Now, however, the presence of a huge communist state 
in Europe suggested the likelihood of its expansion through legal and extralegal means in 

For modern socialists, the division of the world under contemporary capitalism remains 
thoroughly transparent. See, for example, Jeffrey Frieden and David A. Lake, eds.. International 
Political Economy: Perspectives on Global Power and Wealth (New York: St. Martin's Press, 
1995): Randall Germain, ed.. Globalization and Its Critics: Perspectives from Political Economy 
(New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000): Inga Brandell, ed.. Workers in Third World Industrialization 
(Houndmills, MD: Macmillan, 1991): Steffan Lindberg and Ami Sverrisson, eds.. Social 
Movements in Development: The Challenge of Globalization and Democratization (New York: St. 
Martin's Press, 1997). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

all areas of the world. From the perspective of liberals and the defenders of the liberal 
international order, the left was a dangerous adversary. ^^"^ 

The threat of international communism, however, was not the whole story. The 
fragmenting ideological currents of the new age were strong and growing stronger with 
each passing year. Interwar European political ideology included a third international 
movement, centered in Germany and Italy, which fell under the rubric of Mussolini's 
terms "fascism" and "totalitarianism." The totalitarian movements of the right juxtaposed 
themselves against both the totalitarian movements on the left and the neoclassical liberal 
order in the center. The destruction of four European empires and the universal impact of 
the brutal conflict on world civilization created a vacuum in the international system. As 
the first decade after the Great War progressed, a new script, a product of extreme 
nationalism, began to emerge for the West and indeed the entire international community. 
Fascism and communism, products of the twentieth century and the struggle for control 
over European and non-European societies, were formidable organizational weapons. 
Aligned against one another, using nationalistic and historical arguments as well as 
"scientific" ones, the harbingers of repression, war, genocide, and technocratic 
destruction challenged the precepts of a parliamentary world of cosmopolitan culture and 
industrial capitalism.'*' 

With the Great Depression, the nascent script for world war became clear. There 
would be an ideological and, ultimately, a military conflict, involving the competing 
ideologies of the technocratic age. The metascript for the 1930s and then the Second 
World War centered on the confluence of three distinct and opposing spheres of political 
ideology. They were fascism, broadly defined; liberalism, also broadly understood; and 
international communism, inclusive of Stalinism and Stalinist groups everywhere. Each 
of these political camps, though divided by internal differences over ideology and 
national interests, feared and loathed the others. The material stakes behind the rivalries 
were clear. Over the next quarter of a century these three transnational ideological 
systems, representing three divergent paths of modernization, competed against one 
another for control of the international system. The dominance of liberalism appeared 
certain only in the 1920s. Within just a few years, the optimistic age of American jazz, 
the "It Girl," and corporate internationalism was replaced by the related international 
crises of global depression and world war. 

Gregory M. Luebbert, Liberalism, Fascism, or Social Democracy: Social Classes and the 
Political Origins of Regimes in Interwar Europe (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 191- 
312; Sternhell, The Birth of Fascist Ideology, 195-258; Martin Blinlchorn, ed., Fascists and 
Conservatives: The Radical Right and the Establishment in Twentieth-Century Europe (Boston: 
Unwin Hyman, 1990). 

^ Shirer, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, 188-230; Kershaw, Hubris, 501-26. See essays in 
Ian Kershaw and Moshe Lewin, eds., Stalinism and Nazism: Dictatorships in Comparison (New 
Yoric: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 26-157; Phillip Zelnic, The Organizational Weapon: A 
Study of Bolshevik Strategy and Tactics (Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1960). 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

Within a decade and a half, there were the traumas of the global economic crisis and 
the horrific destruction of the Second World War. The interwar system faced the 
insurgence of Nazi Germany in Europe and imperial Japan in the Far East, and liberalism 
shook. In the absence of an effective script for the management of the international 
system in the face of the Great Depression, the grotesque and thoroughly dangerous 
totalitarian movements of the far right waged war against the liberal metascript. Had 
Britain not been able to hold against the Nazi assault in 1940, the future course of Europe 
and a considerable part of the world would have been much different. Instead of a 
postwar Europe dominated by liberalism, perhaps Europe would have seen its integration 
into the genocidal structure of the Third Reich and the Japanese empire. ^^^ 

In the aftermath of the Great War, the West's metascript was poised at a critical 
historical moment. Guided by ideology and nationalist creeds, the international system 
had begun to divide between different visions of modernity. Several distinct paths toward 
that modernity had produced opposing institutional arrangements and forms of national 
culture. Now these paths were powerful rivals for global supremacy. In the ensuing 
complex interplay between these separate forms of Western modernization, the 
metascript had to juxtapose its most sublime achievements, humanism and scientific 
knowledge and the rule of law, with its most pathological and dangerous ideologies. The 
National Socialist regime in Germany and the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union shared 
the same intellectual heritage as the liberal states of Western Europe and North America. 
The legacies of Greece, Rome, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment and the scientific, 
political, and commercial revolutions of the contemporary West were claimed, albeit 
differently, by totalitarian and liberal regimes alike. The metascript formed a circle of 
crisis between the opposing nation-states, forcing the fate of the West's civilization upon 
the national actors who faced each other at the end of the interwar years and during the 
Second World War. 

The world economic crisis created the conditions for the ideological competition, the 
script that posed liberalism against fascism and communism, and the two forms of 
totalitarianism against one another and the liberal world. To observers from every 
segment of the ideological spectrum, the question of global rivalry was assumed. Around 

Aly Gotz, "Final Solution": Nazi Population Policy and the Murder of the European Jews 
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 245-60. By 1940 the Nazi race hierarchy divided the 
German population into four groups. The lowest group was deemed "unworthy of state aid. " At the 
same time, Jews, Gypsies, and a large number of Slavs were marked for extermination. See 
Norman Lerner, Final Solutions: Biology, Prejudice and Genocide (University Park, PA: Penn 
State University Press, 1992); George L. Mosse, The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual 
Origins of the Third Reich (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1964), 88-107; Glaser, The Cultural 
Roots of National Socialism, 136-62, 294-317; Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European 
Jews, 3 vols. (New York: Holmes & Meier, 1985); Omer Bartov, Mirrors of Destruction: War, 
Genocide and Modern Identity (New York: Oxford, 2000). In many respects, Japanese war 
atrocities not only equaled but exceeded Nazi war crimes in some areas. See Yuki Tanaka, Hidden 
Horrors: Japanese War Crimes in World War II (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996); Iris Chang, 
The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of WWII (New York: Basic Books, 1997). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

the world, communist and socialist parties viewed the Soviet Union as the superior 
system for advancing the interests of the masses, both in the developed and the colonial 
regions. For right-wing authoritarian and fascist parties, the anticommunist and antiliberal 
ideologiesof Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco, to name the most prominent, represented the 
wave of the future. In this context, the liberal regimes — both the progressive and 
democratic socialism found in Europe and the more conservative liberalism that existed 
in the United States — maintained a faith in liberal internationalist principles, even as the 
treaties that framed the rule of law were discarded one by one through the 1930s. In the 
wake of large-scale poverty and economic collapse, the new totalitarian forms of the 
nation-state promised prosperity. American internationalism imploded in the early 1930s 
as the country struggled with the survival of its institutions in the face of the Great 
Depression. With diffidence. Great Britain and France watched German totalitarianism 
rise in Central Europe, while they coped with the effects of world depression at home and 
in their vast imperial possessions. The contest, which quickened with each year of the 
1930s, was for nothing less than global hegemony. ^^' 

Liberalism had expressed itself in the national identities of many countries, including 
some — most importantly Germany — that converted quickly to fascism in the 1930s. 
Fascism, centered in the powers of Germany, Japan, and Italy, defined an antiliberal form 
of radical nationalism and socialism in which the individual was subsumed under the 
racial mythology of the nation. In Marxism-Leninism, the same response to liberalism 
was expressed in the totalitarian doctrine of the revolutionary state, where, under Stalin, 
the masses were mobilized to serve the party. The Jacobin tradition of the French 
Revolution had not disappeared with Napoleon but was reborn in the stiff and merciless 
repression that characterized the totalitarian systems that matured in the 1930s. The brief 
decade of respite, the 1920s, which witnessed the "peace ideology" of Wilsonian ideas 

^^'^Donald Cameron Watt, How War Came: The Immediate Origins of the Second World War, 
1938-1939 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1989); Arnold Offner, American Appeasement: United 
States Foreign Policy and Germany, 1933-1938 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 
1939); Peijian Shen, The Age of Appeasement: The Evolution of British Foreign Policy in the 
1930s (Stroud, UK: Sutton, 1999); R. A. C. Parker, Chamberlain and Appeasement: British Policy 
and the Coming of the Second World War (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993); Christopher Hill, 
Cabinet Decisions on Foreign Policy: The British Experience, October 1938-June 1941 (New York: 
Cambridge University Press, 1991); Anthony Eden, Foreign Affairs (London: Faber & Faber, 
1939); Maurice Cowling, The Impact of Hitler: British Politics and British Policy, 1933-1940 
(New York: Cambridge University Press, 1975); Andrew Thorpe, The British Communist Party and 
Moscow, 1920-1943 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000); William Fortescue, The Third Republic 
in France, 1870-1940: Conflicts and Continuities (New York: Routledge, 2000); Bernard, The 
Decline of the Third Republic; Robert Stuart, Marxism at Work: Ideology, Class, and French 
Socialism during the Third Republic (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Joel Coulton, 
Leon Blum: Humanist in Politics (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1987); Piotr S. Wandycz, 
The Twilight of French Eastern Alliances, 1926-1936: French-Czechoslovak-Polish Relations from 
Locarno to the Remilitarization of the Rhineland (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 
1988), 259-478. 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

crafted into substantive international law by the great powers and the League of Nations, 
did not prevent the emergence of fascism as a global phenomenon. Nor did the business 
internationalism of large American corporations and international economic regimes to 
support global commerce and economic development prevent the irredentist and 
expansionist designs of European and Asian fascism.^'" 

In this context, the technocratic epistemologies of science and industrial technology 
became both methods and weapons of modernization. Knowledge systems developed to 
support the political and strategic objectives of competing nation-states. Military 
technologies advanced as the major nation-states prepared for the next war. By the late 
1930s, science and scientists were being mobilized for war. Revolutionary advances in 
physics made by European scientists in the fields of relativity and quantum mechanics 
were being applied to possible military use for the development of nuclear fission 
weapons. Faster military aircraft, bombers, tanks, radar, and advanced radio 
communication systems all were engineered in the service of national defense systems. 
Ironically, the epistemologies of industrial-era war were fashioned by the same state 
institutions that promoted the new diplomacy of internationalism. In a sense, the period 
between the wars represented not only a clash of transnational and national scripts, but 
also a global schizophrenia in which the pursuit of militarism and pacifism intersected, 
sometimes within the same international crisis and nation-state. It was a time of 
"progress" and also one of near catastrophic economic and political crisis. Its end was not 
a diminution of the crises but their explosion in the most destructive war in human 

Glaser, The Cultural Roots of National Socialism; Roderick Stackelberg, Hitler's Germany: 
Origins, Interpretations, Legacies (New York: Routledge, 1999): Erich Voegelin, Hitler and the 
Germans (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1999): Martyn Housden, Helmut Nicolai and 
Nazi Ideology (Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 1992): Catrine Clay and Michael Leapman, Master 
Race: The Lebensborn Experiment in Nazi Germany (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1995): 
Grijfin, Fascism; E. L. Carsten, The Rise of Fascism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 
1980): Detlef Muhlberger, ed., The Social Basis of European Fascist Movements (New York: 
Croom Helm, 1987): William Miles Fletcher 111, The Search for a New Order: Intellectuals and 
Fascism in Prewar Japan (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1982): Paul Brooker, 
The Faces of Fraternalism: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan (New York: Oxford 
University Press, 1991): David Bergamini, Japan's Imperial Conspiracy (New York: Morrow, 
1971): Germaine A. Hoston, Marxism and the Crisis of Development in Prewar Japan (Princeton, 
NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986): Eiko Ikegami, The Taming of the Samurai: Honorific 
Individualism and the Making of Modern Japan (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 
1995): Leonard A. Humphreys, The Way of the Heavenly Sword: The Japanese Army in the 1920's 
(Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994), 108—26, 175. Japanese war crimes included the 
widespread practice of cannibalism in the South Pacific: see Tanaka, Hidden Horrors, 111—34. 
Cannibalism of prisoners of war and civilians by Japanese soldiers in these areas of severe food 
shortage was common practice. Further, biological warfare experiments and mass killings typified 
Japanese atrocities in China: Tanaka, Hidden Horrors, 135-96. 

' Apparently, Germany's chief nuclear physicist, Werner Heisenberg, doubted the practically 
of a uranium-based nuclear weapon. See Paul Lawrence Rose, Heisenberg and the Nazi Atomic 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Interwar Isolationism and Corporate Internationalism 

As soon as the First World War ended in Europe, public opinion in the West wanted 
no more to do with that kind of conflict. The maiming and death of millions of young 
men and the desolation of civil society in the battle areas scarred an entire generation. 
Postwar societies in the major combatant countries had to come to terms with the huge 
losses of an entire age cohort (mainly young) soldiers... The human costs of the war 
were more profound, more destructive, in a shorter period of time, than in any previous 
ones in modern European history. The idea of human progress, as the historiography of 
the war's social and cultural impact so strongly suggests, was shattered. The English poet 
T. S. Eliot's famous poem "The Wasteland" described the pathos of the "lost generation." 
The collective memory of the war changed the tone of contemporary life in Europe and 
North America. From the buoyant optimism found in American, British, French, and 
other Western cultures prior to the war, the morbidity and sheer destruction of the 
conflict provided a new view of modern civilization, marked as much by evil as by 
prosperity and freedom. The sense of a material and abiding evil in human affairs, along 
with the impermanence and desolation, was, of course, a prelude to the 1930s. It was also 
a prediction of the return to world war that the 1940s would bring to hand. In short, the 
interwar period was an extremely brief period of order and prosperity. For less than a 
decade, from the early to the late 1920s, the world overall had a modicum of economic 
growth and political order. A democratic state existed in Germany, Japan had not 
succumbed to a military regime, and the Soviets had not yet launched the massive purges, 
executions, and forced resettlements that characterized Stalin's regime from the 1930s 

In the United States, the political revulsion over the horrible human cost of the First 
World War was extreme enough to keep American soldiers out of Europe until the third 
year of the Second World War. Then the nation went to war only after the Japanese 
surprise attack at Pearl Harbor and the declarations of war by Japan, Germany, and Italy. 

Bomb Project: A Study in German Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998); 
Thomas Powers, Heisenberg's War: The Secret History of the German Bomb (New York: Penguin 
Books, 1994). A revisionist interpretation of the Nazi atomic bomb project is found in Philip 
Henshall, The Nuclear Axis: Germany, Japan and the Atom Bomb Race, 1939-1945 (Stroud, UK: 
Sutton, 2000). Henshall believes the evidence suggests that Germany was much closer to building a 
serviceable weapon than other analyses have shown. See also Monika Renneberg and Mark 
Walker, eds.. Science, Technology, and National Socialism (New York: Cambridge University 
Press, 1994). The Third Reich sponsored both normal and pseudoscientific disciplines. All were 
oriented toward support of National Socialism. Nazi science served military needs and economic 
autarky as well as industrial genocide. See Margit Szollosi-Janze, ed.. Science in the Third Reich 
(New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); Dieter Holsken, V-Missiles of the Third Reich: The V- 
1 and V-2 (Sturbridge, MA: Monogram Aviation, 1994); Edward J. Drea, In the Service of the 
Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998), 
26-74; Meirion Harries, Soldiers of the Sun: The Rise and Fall of the Imperial Japanese Army 
(New York: Random House, 1991). 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

Despite the international prestige attached to military preparedness, the postwar 
American military was grossly undermanned and underfunded. It was as if the strategic 
interests of the United States stopped at the water's edge. The military's funding dropped 
to the miserable levels historically afforded to the peacetime military in the United States. 
In France and Great Britain, the possibility of another war was a chilling prospect that 
those nations would avoid to the last moment. Nonetheless, the interwar period was just 
that. It was a twenty-year period of cold peace in Europe. 

The Germans never accepted the war settlement imposed upon them by the Allies. For 
two decades the Germans rearmed. In the Weimar period, the armament was by 
subterfuge. The German government found novel legalistic detours around some of 
Versailles' stringent conditions. Limited to an army of one hundred thousand men, the 
Germans rotated draftees through the ranks, keeping an officer corps of close to the 
maximum troop level on active duty. Military cooperation between the German 
democracy and the Soviet Union allowed for advanced weapons research and 
development in tanks and aircraft — both strictly controlled by the Versailles Treaty. 
When the Weimar Republic ended with the election of Adolf Hitler in 1933, the German 
military establishment was poised for large-scale reconstruction. In the space of six years, 
the Nazi regime mobilized Germany for an expansionist war. Prussian militarism, so 
defining of German national culture during the Wilhelminian period, returned quickly 
and easily. When the country launched its war against the West in 1939, and then the 
Soviet Union in 1941, it had no trouble building a huge land army and formidable air 
force to destroy its adversaries.^'^ 

How deep a paradox it was for a world community that embraced Woodrow Wilson's 
Fourteen Points to disintegrate in the space of just a few years, and from the late 1920s to 
the early 1930s to fall into a demonic period of repression and preparation for total war. 
So clearly did the liberal technocratic order dissolve in the 1930s that the nature of the 
evils facing the West were accepted as mere fact. Fascism in different national forms 
faced its twin adversaries with the confidence that the more powerful liberal regimes, 
notably the United States and Great Britain, would do nothing but appease them. The 
antithesis of the liberal world of individualism, democracy, and the rule of law was found 
in the jackbooted columns of the SS and the stiff, one-armed salutes of fascists in 
Germany, Italy, Spain, and elsewhere. Fascist ideologies celebrated racism, militarism, 
and the inviolability of the nation and the state. In the wake of the global rise of fascist 
ideology, and especially the formidable machine of National Socialism in Germany, the 
liberal internationalist nations needed to respond quickly and aggressively. However, as 
the narrative of the origins of the Second World War attests, the great powers of Western 
Europe — Great Britain and France — whose major instrument for collective security was 
the League of Nations, failed to respond to the strategic threat other than to appease it. 

Bernhard R. Kroener, Organization and Mobilization of the German Sphere of Power (New 
York: Clarendon, 2000): Bennett, German Rearmament and the West; Wilhelm Deist, "The 
Rearmament of the Wehrmacht, " in Wilhelm Deist et al., Germany and the Second World War, vol. 
1, The Build-up of German Aggression (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 373-540. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Nor did the United States respond in a timely and decisive manner; after all, it was a 
country that embraced internationalism and rejected it simultaneously. ^^^ 

In the face of insurgent antidemocratic, totalitarian movements on the right and the 
left, the 1930s were a catastrophe for the age of liberalism. Lacking the cohesion of 
formal collective security arrangements ready to move against adversarial states, 
multilateral security remained a chimera. Without a coherent, collective political will to 
oppose its expansionist enemies, liberal Western civilization faced its possible defeat and 

Despite the gravity of the threat posed by Hitler and his empire of National Socialists, 
British, French, and other Western European powers and the United States were still 
enamored of avoiding war at all costs. The interests of the liberal and social democratic 
world of Europe and North America were focused less on preparing for total war against 
Nazism than on increasingly desperate formulas to find a way, truly any way, to prevent 
another world war. There was no enthusiasm for fighting the Nazis for Europe when such 
a war would be as horrific, or more so, than the Great War. The last major war had been 
fought for reasons that in hindsight were hardly justified when the costs and benefits of it 
were compared. Deadly trench warfare had killed millions, and one could predict quite 
readily that a new war would be more destructive. From the perspective of the middle and 
late 1930s, a new war would be even more senseless as a political instrument for curing 
the world of totalitarianism and militarism. Not only would a war with a revamped fascist 
Germany be undesirable; the whole constellation of deterrence and power politics was 
unfeasible to the old colonial empires. It seemed impossible, the British high command 
thought in the late 1930s, that Britain, with its limited resources of capital, manpower, 
and raw materials, could fight an effective war against imperial Japan in the western 
Pacific while also waging war against a rearmed and irredentist German nation on the 
continent of Europe. The alternative to waging all-out war, so leading British strategists 
thought near the eve of Munich, was to somehow maintain the peace. With peace, the 
world could cope with Nazism through trade and the building of a coherent line of 
defense against possible assault by the German armies. '''* 

The Great Depression placed the global market economy under severe challenge. 
Indeed, the magnitude of the economic disaster left the ideology of capitalism fighting for 

Ojfner, American Appeasement, 18-76; Thomas Guinsberg, The Pursuit of Isolationism in 
the United States Senate from Versailles to Pearl Harbor (New York: Garland, 1982); Manfred 
Jonas, Isolationism in America, 1935-1941 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1966), 100-35; 
Iriye, The Globalization of America, 131-69; Casey, Cautious Crusade, 3-45; Robert A. Divine, 
The Illusion of Neutrality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962); Theodore Dreiser, Is 
America Worth Saving? (New York: Modern Age Books, 1941). 

"*Watt, How War Came, 76-187; Ojfner, American Appeasement, 214-80; Peter Neville, 
Appeasing Hitler: The Diplomacy of Sir Nevile Henderson, 1937-1939 (New York: St. Martin's 
Press, 2000); Richard Davis, Anglo-French Relations before the Second World War: Appeasement 
and Crisis (New York: Palgrave, 2001), 125-99; B. J. C. McKercher and Roch Legault, eds.. 
Military Planning and the Origins of the Second World War in Europe (Westport, CT: Praeger, 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

survival. Around the world, democratic socialists, communists, and fascists proposed 
radical alternatives to the neoclassical liberal model. The most desirable path of 
modernization was not a settled matter in an international system dominated by a number 
of very separate views of political economy and civil society. Everywhere in the world, 
save North America, democracy was threatened by totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. 
The liberal script for the international system, inaugurated with the diplomacy at 
Versailles and confirmed by later conferences in London and Washington, was impotent 
in the face of the onslaught of antiliberal regimes in the early 1930s. Despite the energy 
and commitment of liberal internationalists around the world, the institutional 
mechanisms for global liberal technocratic control were not sufficiently developed to 
preserve peace in the face of Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and imperial Japan. After 
Versailles and the failure of Wilson to ratify membership in the League of Nations, there 
was no military alliance system, permanent or otherwise, to unite the United States with 
Western Europe. The atrophy of Western power coincided with the progressive vision of 
arms control and demilitarization. Throughout the post-World War I era, the military 
preparedness of the Western powers declined. When the Germans began a massive 
remilitarization in the mid-1930s, the defense budget of the United States was a little over 
$900 million. This was hardly enough to modernize the aging American fleet, its 
obsolescent tanks, and diminutive air force. ^'^ 

The Great Depression 

The fall of the New York stock market in October 1929 and a chain of related events 
in world economic history led directly to the global economic crisis. It also launched the 
essential political conditions for the election of Adolf Hitler as chancellor of the Republic 
of Germany. It also led directly to the resurgence of Japanese imperialism and fascist 
models of modernity in Italy, Spain, and around the world. Clearly, the world economic 
crisis of the Great Depression was the trigger that demolished the fragile political entente 
of the 1920s and led the world to fascism. The crisis occurred mainly because of the lack 
of institutional regimes to prevent it. Industrial capitalism had harnessed levels of labor, 
capital, and resources far greater than in previous historical periods. The vast and 
expanding industrialism of the great powers, led by the preponderant economic output of 
the United States, lacked the mature public administrative and regulatory controls to 
avoid catastrophic systemic collapse. Without a protocol to absorb losses on the world's 
integrated financial and product markets, the fate of the interwar economy was sealed. 
The limits of technocratic knowledge were reached when international trade, agriculture, 
finance, and other sectors of the U.S. economy experienced structural collapse. ^'' 

^U.S. Department of Commerce, Statistical Abstract of the United States 1949 (Washington, 
DC: GPO, 1949), 328. America 's wartime military expenditures peaked at $80 billion in 1945. 

^^^Charles Kindleberger, The World in Depression, 1929-1939 (Berkeley: University of 
California Press, 1986); Ben S. Bernanke, ed., Essays on the Great Depression (Princeton, NJ: 
Princeton University Press, 2000), 3-160; Michael Bernstein, The Great Depression: Delayed 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

What began as a deep business cycle correction quickly turned into global crisis. 
Lacking the prescience of mature technocratic economic science, which later in the 
century would provide effective public policy, a series of economic equilibrium upsets in 
the late 1920s and early 1930s deeply affected the advanced industrial economies of the 
West. In the space of months, the most severe economic crisis of the industrial age 
gripped not only the United States, but also, far more ominously, the regional market 
economies of Europe and East Asia. The economic devastation brought on by the global 
depression naturally triggered the adaptive mechanisms of national scripts. Adaptation, 
however, was often unpalatable. The rise of dictators to reestablish order from chaos and 
to reassure the wealthy from fear of the poor and the dispossessed was often a harsh form 
of security. The need for security against the possibilities of violent revolution mobilized 
totalitarian movements on the right in Europe and Latin America. It was a rejection of 
liberalism, although not a rejection of the technocratic. The same was true on the left, 
which found its enemy not only in liberalism but also in fascism.^'' 

The global political script in the 1930s was for the rise of totalitarian movements on 
every continent. Germany's adaptive behavior led it directly into a national election with 
the ideological extremists of both the far right and the far left. Germany's choice of 
National Socialism and Adolf Hitler transformed the politics of Europe, literally 
overnight. Likewise, the Japanese reoriented themselves in 1930, the civilian government 
succumbing to a military coup, which led immediately to a new policy of aggressive 
expansion in East Asia. Japan challenged its neighboring Asian societies and the strength 
and resolve of European and American power in the Far East. The wave of synchronous 
economic and political events in the early and mid-1930s showed a global narrative at 
work. The Western metascript had triggered the denouement of liberalism in Central 
Europe and in East Asia. It would fall to the ingenuity of the international liberal order to 
defeat its treacherous enemy on the right and hold its enemy but potential ally (the 
Soviets) on the left. 

American Scripts 

The heterogeneity of American society was apparent in the interwar period. 
Beginning with the Palmer raids of 1919, and including the revival and rise of the Ku 
Klux Klan and the National Origins Act of 1924, the country had to come to terms with 
the complex ethnocultural politics that now defined the nation. Beginning with the Great 
Depression, ethnicity and race were quickly superseded as barometers of political tension 

Recovery and Economic Change in America, 1929-1939 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University 
Press, 1987). 

^Harold James, The End of Globalization: Lessons from the Great Depression (Cambridge, 
MA: Harvard University Press, 2001); Jurgen von Kruedener, ed., Economic Crisis and Political 
Collapse: The Weimar Republic, 1924-1933 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990); Julian 
Jackson, The Politics of Depression in France, 1932-1936 (New York: Cambridge University 
Press, 1985); Blinkhorn, Fascists and Conservatives, 71-237; Hans Mommsen, The Rise and Fall 
of Weimar Democracy (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), 318-98. 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

by issues related to economic class. Internationally, the world system fell into virtual 
anarchy by the mid-1930s, as fascist armies overran countries in Europe, Africa, and 
Asia. The United States continued to understand itself as a redeeming civilization, yet 
that redemption was imagined as an internal quest. The interwar period found the United 
States struggling with domestic and international issues of extraordinary circumstance. 
The political dynamics of the country, divided by intricate group interests, imposed a 
variety of scripts upon American behavior. 

There was the corporate script of the 1920s, in which the expansion and efficiency of 
American industry was represented by the new mass production technology of the 
automobile industry and the scientific management approaches pioneered by Frederick 
Taylor. A buoyant international trade in the decade promoted the corporate ideology of 
expanding markets and efficient labor, with the government's role seen as simply a 
servant to the master of the market system. After all, it was Calvin Coolidge, shy and 
taciturn conservative, who was most famous for saying, "The business of America is 
business." Presidents Warren Harding and Herbert Hoover evoked similar ideas. Their 
steady conservative administrations promised low taxes and a peaceful international 
system that would protect the nation from the severe economic burdens of modern 
warfare. Through American financing and the productivity engendered by the new 
industrial systems of the technocratic age, they hoped to maintain the modern corporate 
paradigm as the path to the American future. ^^^ 

The New Deal script of the 1930s was a response to the deepest of economic crises, 
improvising a new progressive institutional structure for the American state. Then, the 
isolationist script in foreign policy forced the country away from intervention, preventing 
Franklin Roosevelt from intervening against Germany or Japan until the attack against 
Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt and his circle of advisers embraced the neo-Wilsonian and the 

^^^Robert Ferrell, The Presidency of Calvin Coo\i&ge(Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 
1998), 61-80, 167-89; Richard Norton Smith, An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert 
Hoover (New York: Simon <& Schuster, 1984), 103-31; Martin L. Fausold, The Presidency of 
Herbert C. Hoover (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1985), 105-24; Kendrick Clements, 
Hoover, Conservation, and Consumerism: Engineering the Good Life (Lawrence: University Press 
of Kansas, 2000); Thomas K. McCraw, ed., The Essential Alfred Chandler: Essays toward a 
Historical Theory of Big Business (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1991); Alfred D. 
Chandler Jr., The Coming of Managerial Capitalism: A Casebook on the History of American 
Economic Institutions (Homewood, IL: R. D. Irwin, 1985), 396^23, 460-83; Hawley, "Herbert 
Hoover, the Commerce Secretariat and the Vision of the 'Associative State, ' 1921-1928" and 
"Three Facets of Hooverian Associationalism: Lumber, Aviation and Movies, 1921—1930, " in 
Himmelberg, Business-Government Cooperation, 213-41; Morton Keller, Regulating a New 
Economy: Public Policy and Economic Change in America, 1900-1933 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard 
University Press, 1990); Patrick D. Reagan, Designing a New America: The Origins of New Deal 
Planning, 1890-1943 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999), 88-139. Reagan clearly 
sees the corporate paradigm linking Democratic and Republican administrations from the 1890s to 
the Second World War and shows the institutional dichotomy between Hoover and Roosevelt to be 
historically false. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

corporate internationalist scripts, but tliese scripts remained recessive through the balance 
of the interwar period, until the progress of Hitler made their activation inevitable. 

In addition to political scripts there were social ones. There were scripts for 
desperation on the streets, as the Great Depression drove millions to the point abject 
hopelessness. There were scripts for mass protest and union organizing, just as there were 
narratives for the far right with its Klan and German Bund rallies. ^'^ 

As mentioned, there were collective narratives that pointed the country toward 
international leadership and others that pointed it toward internal self-absorption. What 
was needed in the last years of the interwar period was a dominant script for American 
internationalism. The country needed an ideology that would unite it and reorient the 
nation toward its genuine national purpose. To this end, Franklin Roosevelt strived 
mightily. Finally, thanks in large part to the aggressive military actions of Germany and 
Japan, he succeeded in establishing the New Deal liberal internationalism that brought 
the country into the Second World War.'"" 

In the United States, as a substantial literature documents, the New Deal vastly 
extended the power of the state to manage the private sector. It built a new paradigm for 
the state as a management system for American political economy. The American or 
Rooseveltian script set in motion the institutional reforms for reviving liberal capitalism 
in the face of a near total collapse of the economy. There was near starvation in the 
Appalachians, and all around the major cities squatters lived in shacks. Food riots, 
corporate bankruptcies, and bank closings left the country on the very edge of the 
precipice when Roosevelt assumed office in March 1933. The state had to restore what 
the markets had utterly destroyed, and do it in a manner speedy enough to prevent the 
massive social unrest that lay just over the horizon. Roosevelt worked to save American 
capitalism, while in Europe and East Asia liberalism shook under the assault from 
totalitarian ideologies. In Germany, the economic crisis led Hitler to win power two 
months before Franklin Roosevelt's inauguration and the start of the New Deal. The 
script that gripped the international system in the early 1930s mirrored national crises all 
over the world. America's struggle to preserve its political economy was juxtaposed with 
similar crises elsewhere, including, in particular, the Weimar Republic.^"' 

See, for example, Sander A. Diamond, The Nazi Movement in the United States, 1924-1941 
(Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1974); Glen Jeansonne, Women of the Far Right: The 
Mothers' Movement and World War II (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996). 

Dallek, Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 233-313; Michael Leigh, 
Mobilizing Consent: Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy, 1937-1947 (Westport, CT: 
Praeger, 1976), 29-70; Casey, Cautious Crusade, 30-45. 

Irving Bernstein, The Lean Years: A History of the American Worker, 1920-1933 (Boston: 
Houghton Mifflin, I960); Robert MacElvaine, The Great Depression: America, 1929-1941 (New 
York: Times Books, 1993); William J. Barber, Designs within Disorder: Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 
Economists, and the Shaping of American Economic Policy, 1933-1945 (New York: Cambridge 
University Press, 1996); Peter Lambert, The Weimar Republic and the Rise of Hitler: Histories and 
Controversies (London: Arnold, 1998); Temin, Lessons from the Great Depression,- E. J. 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

In the first years of the world depression and the last years of the Weimar Republic, 
German liberals faced political challenges not only from the National Socialists but also 
from the German communist party. Part of Hitler's appeal, and perhaps what was critical 
to his success, was precisely the threat of the full realization of the communist script for 
Germany. Revolutionary socialism had almost succeeded in achieving power in the 
aftermath of the First World War. The suppression of the German revolution and 
economic restructuring, conducted successfully by the Germans in the middle and late 
1920s, made the threat recede. However, with the economic collapse that ensured global 
depression, the extremist parties of the right and the left quickly moved toward the goal 
of winning national power. The transient prosperity of the 1920s was replaced with the 
bread lines and homelessness characteristic of the country just after defeat in the First 
World War. The political opening long awaited by the Nazis enabled Hitler to bring his 
party toward the center of the German electorate. The frantic worries of Franklin 
Roosevelt and Winston Churchill as Germany began to rearm would be realized in full. 
Within six years of reaching power. Hitler would assemble a massive war machine fully 
capable of winning a major European war against its rivals. '"'^ 

The Isolationist Script 

New to the world community of the early twentieth century, the liberal technocratic 
script for the international system was at an early stage of development. In the United 
States, as noted in earlier parts of this book, the narrative posed two principal ideological 
systems, or two dominant scripts for the American state. The internationalist script, 
founded upon the economic and cultural interests of the new cosmopolitan industrial age, 
was challenged by isolationist ideologies popular in the nation's agrarian and industrial 
heartland. The ambitious vision of internationalism was supported wholeheartedly by 
Atlantic -oriented white Protestant elites educated in the Ivy League. However, the 
internationalist agenda was opposed by a wide swath of public opinion in most areas of 
the country. Ethnoculturally, German and Scandinavian immigrant populations, the large 
Irish working class, and other groups shared antipathy toward supporting Britain and 
France as global allies. The internationalist creed, adopted by both the Democratic and 
Republican foreign policy establishments, faced stiff opposition from both right wing and 
left wing isolationist factions. The arguments against internationalism were tough, based 
upon the long established fears in American society of engaging in a European war. 
Clearly, the First World War had been costly enough, costing the country more than a 
hundred thousand men and many billions of dollars. This was so despite the short 
duration of American involvement. The consistent antipathy toward projecting American 

Feuchtwanger, From Weimar to Hitler: Germany, 1918-33 (New York: MacMillan, 1993), 203- 
315: Mommsen, The Rise and Fall of Weimar Democracy, 399-544. 

Deist, The Build- Up of German Aggression, 505^0: E. M. Robertson, Hitler's Pre-war 
Policy and Military Plans, 1933-1939 (New York: Citadel Press, 1967): R- H. Haigh, The Years of 
Triumph? German Diplomatic and Military Policy, 1933-41 (Hants, UK: Aldershot, 1986), 51- 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

power overseas created the political necessity of moderating American participation in 
international relations.'"''' 

Herbert Hoover, a committed internationalist, some of whose proclivities were deeply 
Wilsonian, stated this compromise succinctly in a speech that endorsed the Kellogg- 
Briand Pact: 

Our basis of cooperation to preserve peace among nations must be 
different from that of other great nations of the world. The security of our 
geographic situation, our traditional freedom from entanglements in the 
involved diplomacy of Europe, and our disinterestedness enable us to give 
a different and in many ways a more effective service to peace. 
The purpose of our government is to cooperate with others, to use our 
friendly office and helpfulness free from any advanced commitment or 
entanglement, as to the character of our action. 

The speech recapitulated the same ideas found in George Washington's farewell 
address of 1796, a document that had guided American foreign policy for five 
generations. Yet, the Washingtonian principles of nonintervention were now set in the 
new context of the modern 1920s. In the new era, the country was taking an active role in 
Europe and elsewhere, supporting the world economy and promoting the Wilsonian 
principles of global economic growth and the development of international law for the 
adjudication of international conflicts. By design, Hoover's foreign policy script drew 
upon twin concepts of American exceptionalism. First, the belief in America's redeeming 
role in world affairs, and second, the unique character of American culture and history, 
set it apart from its European allies. The redeemer nation, so prominent in its military 
intervention during the Great War, had abandoned the most ambitious aspects of the 
Wilsonian script. The progressive or liberal internationalist script still dominated the 
foreign policies of the interwar administrations, but the outspoken idealism and 
missionary qualities of American internationalism were muted during the 1920s. They 
were even more so in the 1930s, until the actions of the anti-Comintern powers ignited 
the reemergence of America as the redeemer. Without a mandate born of a compelling 
need for action, the strength and vitality of the American nation as a combatant in the 

^"^Jonas, Isolationism in America, 136-68; Johnson, The Peace Progressives, 269-309; 
Edward Curry, Irish-America and National Isolationism, 1914-1920 (New York: Arno Press, 
1976); James C. Schneider, Should America Go to War? The Debate over Foreign Policy in 
Chicago, 1939-1941 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989), 1-64; John P. 
Diggins, Mussolini and Fascism: The View from America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University 
Press, 1972), 77-181; Wayne Cole, Charles A. Lindbergh and the Battle against American 
Intervention in World War II (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974), 78-142; Selig Adler, 
The Isolationist Impulse: Its Twentieth-Century Reaction (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1974). 

Herbert Hoover, "Address to the annual conference and good-will congress of the World 
Alliance for Friendship through the Churches, " in Public Papers of the Presidents, 1930 
(Washington, DC: GPO, 1976), 474-78. 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

name of world freedom was not present. This was true even in the face of Hitler's 
massive rearmament and the aggressive expansion of Japan in East Asia. Even with the 
outbreak of war in Europe and Asia, and the victories of the Axis powers against France, 
Scandinavia, the Low Countries, and the Soviet Union, the national will to go to war to 
defend the free world was lacking. Until the bombing of Pearl Harbor finally ended the 
interwar period, America remained a divided country unable to accept its new and 
formidable role in the world war and in the future of the international system. 

Years earlier, when Hoover gave his speech endorsing an end to warfare, a Second 
World War was not foreseen. It appeared, from the vantage point of the late 1920s, that 
the future of war would be limited, and perhaps as a practical matter it would end. Social 
scientists in the 1920s and 1930s, most notably Quincy Wright of the University of 
Chicago, who studied the causes of war in his mammoth research project funded by the 
Carnegie Endowment for Peace, found that war was a product of innumerable factors — 
political, economic, social, cultural, and geographic — including, most especially, 
competition for scarce resources. In the modern age, many thought, effective 
international institutions would mediate the competition for such resources. Preventing 
war required only the construction of an effective internal order for security and 
development. Clearly, this was the hope of Woodrow Wilson, and it was also the hope of 
a generation of Western liberal leaders, until the veil of economic crisis and fascist 
expansion descended upon the world in the early 1930s. '"'^ 

The American script remained conflicted, as did the scripts for the other democratic 
nations in the West as the pathology of the Axis fell upon them. Unwilling to accept a 
role as a global power committed to the defense of the liberal order, the United States 
stewed in its neutrality as Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and imperial Japan coalesced into 
the Axis powers. The inklings of an awakening became a decisive move toward a new 
script in the first years of the world war. By 1941, the isolationist leanings of an earlier 
Roosevelt foreign policy were replaced with sentiments that suggested above all else the 
need for national survival: 

In Lincoln 's day the task of the people was to preserve that Nation from 
disruption from within. In this day the task of the people is to save that 
Nation and its institutions from disruption from without... The life of a man 
is three-score years and ten: a little more, a little less. The life of a nation 
is the fullness of the measure of its will to live. 

With this statement of January 1941, the interwar period was gone, erased. The peril 
of the Nazi threat removed the isolationist script that had governed American politics 
until the eve of the Second World War. Then the American script began its final 

^Quincy Wright, The Causes of War and the Conditions of Peace (New York: Longmans, 
1935) and A Study of War, 2 vols. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1942), 2:1284-1352. 

Franklin Roosevelt, "Third Inaugural Address, " January 20, 1920, in Public Papers of the 
Presidents, 1942 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1976). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

reorientation within the larger metascript of the Second World War. Roosevelt would 
respond to Hitler with massive firepower, but not just then. When the war came later, a 
year later, the country had launched a total war mobilization that would not only redesign 
the American script and its active components, or institutional subscripts, but would 
ultimately radically reorder those of its adversaries that were to suffer total defeat and 
occupation. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the redeemer script, lost 
in the 1930s, would find ideological sustenance and political reality in the wake of the 
next war. 

Institutional Scripts 

For the industrialized technocratic nations, the interwar period was a period of both 
crisis and development. The crisis was easy to see in the inability of the institutional 
regimes that governed macroeconomic policy in the United States, and in the other major 
market economies, to control the world's economic system. That failure resulted in the 
gravest economic crisis of the twentieth century. The world economic crisis of the Great 
Depression led directly to the victory of the Nazis in Germany and to the rise of fascism 
and fascist ideology on every continent. By the 1930s, the world had to choose between 
three competing political systems. One was democratic in the broad sense, albeit vastly 
imperfect. The other two were to become known as the classic totalitarian systems of the 
right and the left. No more destructive societies ever existed than Nazi Germany, the 
Soviet Union, and imperial Japan. 

The interwar period did not give any indication as to how the institutional challenge 
posed by the Second World War would be met. The "Grand Alliance" was not apparent 
as the world focused upon war in the late 1930s and as the League of Nations dissolved 
into ineffectuality. Serendipity and survival would bring Franklin Roosevelt and Winston 
Churchill to defeat the totalitarianism of the right, in alliance with Joseph Stalin, the 
totalitarian architect of the left. 

The liberal technocratic script, whose instrument in international relations was the 
League of Nations, failed in its objectives in the twenty years after Versailles. Lacking 
effective economic knowledge and management skill, the West was unable to coordinate 
effective monetary and fiscal policies among major nation-states. In politics, the lack of 
commitment to collective security arrangements left the League of Nations impotent in 
the face of aggression by the fascist states. Without the institutional and ideological 
underpinnings for collective management of the international system, the liberal script 
faced its denouement. Only after France had fallen in June 1940, and the Soviets lay near 
their destruction in the fall of 1941, were the forces of liberal internationalism 
emboldened to restate the Wilsonian perspective on world order. It would take a Second 
World War to reconstruct Wilsonianism and reestablish the world's liberal order, with the 
United States as the predominant force in world affairs. ''°' 

^"''Ojfner, American Appeasement, 107-33; Christopher Thome, The Limits of Foreign Policy: 
The West, the League, and the Far Eastern Crisis of 1931-1933 {New York: Capricorn, 1972); 
Elmer Bendiner, A Time for Angels: The Tragicomic History of the League of Nations (New York: 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

Despite the failure of the liberal system, the interwar period also witnessed significant 
institutional development for the practice of international relations. The changes did not 
prevent the rise of fascism or the onset of the Great Depression, but they were important 
to the development of the liberal script as the world moved toward a new and even 
deadlier world war. Both institutional and intellectual in nature, the international system 
moved toward a framework of greater cosmopolitanism, even as it prepared for 
cataclysm. The institutional development had much to do with the expansion of private 
corporations overseas. Corporate internationalism in the United States — the practice of 
overseas trade and investment in capital-intensive industries such as oil, finance, and 
automobiles — boomed steadily through the 1920s, until the protectionism of the world 
economic crisis crippled its ascent. In the public sector, international organizations 
developed within the new framework of the League of Nations. ''°^ 

Intellectual Scripts 

In relative terms, the growth of intellectual technology in the interwar period, in the 
social, physical, and natural sciences, was prosaic in comparison to the knowledge 
explosion of later periods of twentieth-century history. In all the major countries of the 
period, the institutions most involved in producing knowledge, university science 
faculties and engineering and social science groups, were still at very early stages of 
development. The number of working experimental and theoretical physicists who were 
responsible for the physics revolution of the early twentieth century was actually quite 
small. The innovators in computer engineering, such as Vannevar Bush at MIT in the 
1920s, had to struggle for a few tens of thousands of dollars in research funding for the 
development of computing machines. Nonetheless, innovations in physics and 
mathematics and information science laid the foundations for both the nuclear age and 
the information age. The period saw the continuation of the scientific revolution in 
physics, namely, the full explication of the new revolutionary theories of the universe: 
relativity and quantum dynamics. The new physics would lead directly to the Manhattan 
Project. In information science, mathematicians began to develop the concepts for a 
digital computer. The first electromechanical computers were under development in the 
United States and Great Britain, with the principal benefit being military.^"' 

Knopf, 1975); E. P. Walters, A History of the League of Nations (New York: Oxford University 
Press, 1969), 767-810; Casey, Cautious Crusade, 80-129. 

Walters, A History of the League of Nations, 268-310; Geoffrey Jones, ed., Transnational 
Corporations: A Historical Perspective (New York: Routledge, 1993); Geoffrey Jones, British 
Multinational Banking, I830-I990 (London: Oxford University Press, 1993). 

Peter Galison, Michael Gordin, and David Kaise, eds.. Science and Society: The History of 
Modern Physical Science in the Twentieth Century, 4 vols. (New York: Routledge, 2001); Helge 
Kragh, Quantum Generations: A History of Physics in the Twentieth Century (Princeton, NJ: 
Princeton University Press, 1994); G. Pascal Zachary, Endless Frontier: Vannevar Bush, Engineer 
of the American Century (New York: Free Press, 1997); Vannevar Bush, Operational Circuit 
Analysis (New York: Wiley & Sons, 1937); U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development, 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Despite the effective limits on the development of scientific and practical engineering 
knowledge, over the longer term the scientific knowledge of the interwar period would 
lay the foundations for what would come in successive periods of the accelerating 
technocratic age. Prewar science, inevitably, became a strong catalyst for truly 
momentous changes in science and technology. The legacies of interwar research, both 
civilian and military, included the development of space technology, cybernetics, and 
solid-state electronics (that is, the invention of the transistor and later the 
microprocessor). The Second World War had truly massive effects on human memory 
and political development. However, the intellectual technology of the century's middle 
period would be of equal or greater historical importance to the future of human society. 
The new scientific theories and technologies of the 1920s and 1930s would soon be 
incorporated into the epistemological systems of the Cold War era. In turn, those systems 
of knowledge, acquired in the long march of twentieth-century warfare, would be 
quintessential assets to the new age of molecular biology, chemistry, and information 
processing that galvanized the world's elites of the late twentieth and early twenty-first 
centuries. Without any hyperbole, one can say that the political, intellectual, and 
technological basis of the contemporary world was rooted in the 1920s and 1930s. ^'^ 

Isolationism vs. Internationalism: The American Epistemology for 
Global Affairs 

The international system had achieved a measure of order in the 1920s. In principle, 
according to the designs of Versailles and successive international agreements, the 
world's major powers followed the Wilsonian design for international relations. The 
Wilsonian internationalist script informed a sophisticated diplomatic discourse on 
controlling the outbreak of war, expanding world commerce, and promoting economic 
and political development internationally. Disarmament conferences in London and 
Washington kept the major powers involved in serious discussions and agreements on the 
global balance of power. The Kellogg-Briand treaty of 1928 committed all of the world's 
major powers, and ultimately sixty-two nations, to renounce war as an instrument of 
foreign policy. International trade expanded as industrialization continued its 
development in Europe, North America, and Japan. The world community as a whole 
was committed to stable, peaceful international relations, based upon international law 

Science, the Endless Frontier: A Report to the President by Vannevar Bush (Washington, DC: 
GPO, 1945): James M. Nyce and Paul Kahn, eds., From Memex to Hypertext: Vannevar Bush and 
the Mind's Machine (Boston: Academic Press, 1991). 

Quantum physics in all of its complex variations appeared full-blown in Central Europe 
during the mid-1920s. Galison, Gordon, and Kaise, Science and Society, vol. 4, Quantum 
Histories; Millican and Clark, The Legacy of Alan Turing; Jagdish Mehra and Helmut 
Rechenberg, The Historical Development of Quantum Theory, 6 vols. (New York: Springer, 1982- 
2000); Mary Jo Nye, The Pursuit of Modern Chemistry and Physics, 1800-1940 (New York: 
Twayne, 1996), 189-224; Steve Adams, Frontiers in Twentieth Century Physics (New York: Taylor 
& Francis, 2000), 3-108. 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

and a gradual improvement of trade relations. Superficially, the international system bore 
some of the characteristics of neo-Kantian universalism. Predicated upon the principles of 
expanding free trade, scientific progress, and the eventual abolition of colonialism, 
interwar progressive ideology strove for the ideal of a peaceful world, no longer in need 
of military force.'" 

American foreign policy nationalists and internationalists disagreed on the course of 
United States foreign policy. Yet, the final policy of whomever was placed in the Oval 
Office would be a synthesis of diverse ideological viewpoints. It would always be a 
narrative balancing group interests and scripts, just as one would expect in a 
heterogeneous society. As noted, for policy to work and obtain public support, it was 
necessary to present it as a balance or amalgam of scripted elements. So, Calvin Coolidge 
and Herbert Hoover's foreign policies combined corporate internationalism with the 
Wilsonian emphasis on treaty law and diplomacy, as well as on the nationalist creed of 
protecting the nation from destructive foreign wars. In continuity with the postwar 
Republican administrations, Franklin Roosevelt's diplomacy included elements of both 
nationalism and internationalism. He too was a "juggler," according to the Roosevelt 
scholar Warren Kimball. Roosevelt required an operational political ideology and 
narrative script that was synchronous with the adaptive liberal culture of twentieth- 
century America.''' 

Yet, despite the intentions of a generation of experienced diplomats, learned 
international lawyers, and social scientist advisers, the First World War led to the even 
more catastrophic Second World War. Despite the energy and enthusiasm for a new 
international system based upon collective security and development, the world's liberal 
order, provided by committed internationalist statesmen, masked profound underlying 
tensions and fissures. Barely below the surface of the facade of internationalism in 
Germany's Weimar Republic, and across Central and Eastern Europe in the successor 
states to the old Hapsburg, Hollenzollern, and Romanov empires, popular discontent had 
laid the grounds for struggles between fascists and communists. Mussolini gained power 
in Italy in 1923 and proceeded to turn that relatively new nation into an authoritarian, or, 
as Mussolini termed it, a "totalitarian" state. Extreme nationalism in Germany had only a 
small base of support in the 1920s, but it was a force that, while remaining in the 
background, clearly had potential. The problems for liberalism and the liberal 
technocratic script of the machine age were the ideological challenges from the both the 
far right and the far left. On a world scale, fascism gained political momentum from the 
1920s to the beginning of the Second World War. Its corollary on the left, Marxism- 
Leninism, did the same, taking advantage of the contradictions of capitalism. The liberal 

Margot Louria, Triumph and Downfall: America's Pursuit of Peace and Prosperity, 1921- 
1933 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001); Lewis Ethan Ellis, Frank B. Kellogg and American 
Foreign Relations, 1925-1929 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1961); Leffler, 
Elusive Quest, 82-230; Hogan, Informal Entente, 13-78; Iriye, The Globalization of America, 

''^'Kimball, The Juggler, 3-19. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

regimes of the United States and Great Britain faced radical ideologies because liberalism 
or democratic capitalism failed to achieve broad, substantive economic and social 
equality that cut across ethnic, racial, and class categories. When the world economic 
crisis came in the early 1930s, those contradictions allowed the competing scripts of the 
right and the left to gain ground and, in many countries (including, most critically, 
Germany), absolute power. 

The political fight between isolationists and internationalists in the interwar period 
was a continuation of the argument over American imperialism in the late nineteenth and 
early twentieth centuries and the battle over American intervention in the First World 
War. In the aftermath of the Great War, the isolationist arguments gained ground, 
especially with respect to participation in European foreign wars. The economic crisis of 
the early 1930s turned American passivity into a brief period of complete isolationism in 
the mid-1930s. At the height of the age of appeasement in the 1930s, as totalitarianism 
and irredentist nationalism rose to power throughout Europe and East Asia, American 
policy was largely muted and ineffectual. The isolationists were so strong in the period 
preceding the outbreak of war in Europe and Asia that they precluded any attempt by the 
Roosevelt administration to intervene directly in world affairs. The script had changed 
almost 180 degrees. It turned the redeemer nation inward, where salvation was to be 
found in rescuing American society from its poverty and institutional crisis.'"'' 

Isolationist politics enveloped American policy even as Roosevelt struggled to 
respond to Hitler's and Tojo's expansionist aggressions. The grip of isolationist thought 
wasn't broken until the Second World War began to go disastrously wrong for the Allies. 
The bifurcation between conservative isolationism and liberal internationalism 
encapsulated the conflict over changing political economy and political culture in 
American society. The literature is very clear on the divergence in ideological 
perspectives. The internationalist perspective represented an expanding intellectual 
construct for America's relationship to the world. It was a relationship that was defined 
by broad cultural, commercial, scientific, demographic, and political exchanges. The 
isolationists rejected the script, for reasons particular to different strands of 
isolationist/nationalist thought. Clearly, the conservative isolationists feared the power of 
the New Deal-defined state. The idea of an enlarged and intrusive national government, 
premised on internationalism, militated against the isolationist concept of a limited and 
insular institutional system. The two competing scripts for the American state opposed 
one another, compromising the internationalism of every presidential administration from 
Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Roosevelt, right up until the spring of 1940, when the fate 
of the world hung in the balance. 

The isolationist position was argued poignantly by conservative nationalists such as 
William Randolph Hearst and Robert McCormick, and so-called peace progressives such 

^'^Divine, The Illusion of Neutrality, 81-121; Dallek, Franklin D. Roosevelt and American 
Foreign Policy, 78-170; Donald Drummond, The Passing of American Neutrality, 1937-1941 (Ann 
Arbor: University of Michigan, 1968), 20^8. 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

as senators Hiram Johnson, William Borah, and Gerald Nye.^'** They chose to understand 
the nature of the international system in terms of the last century, when continental 
expansion and insular belief in American exceptionalism kept the nation isolated and 
fiercely nationalistic in its foreign relations. The nineteenth-century paradigm viewed 
America as a sacred and inviolate haven from the desperate circumstances of Europe. 
According to George Washington and most of his successors, it was incumbent upon 
Americans to protect their society from unwelcome foreign influences, including the 
disastrous military confrontations that were the ruin of European states. The ideologists 
of American isolationism were categorical in their rejection of American intervention, 
prior to Pearl Harbor. From the point of view of interwar isolationist thinkers, the costs 
and risks of participating in the Second World War would be catastrophic. The conflict 
between Germany and its great power neighbors was not a vital interest of the United 
States. Primarily, it was a war over long-standing imperial interests that the United States 
opposed for reasons both moral and strategic. Even with the possibility of German 
victory, the isolationists were vehement that the United States had no compelling reason 
to intervene directly on the side of the Allies. The conservative nationalist script viewed 
American national security as hemispheric, not global. In the wake of a Nazi assault on 
France and Great Britain, and, in 1941, on the Soviet Union, the balance of American 
interests remained to ensure the territorial defense of the Western Hemisphere — and no 

The political script and epistemology for interwar American isolationism suggested 
that Americans needed only to look at their roots. They had only to understand the lives 
and administrations of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington to know that their vital 
interests could not be in Europe, but in the American heartland. Conservative political 
knowledge envisioned the pre-New Deal order, the laissez-faire market economy of the 
1800s, as the only truly acceptable form of civil society. The broad designs of 
internationalists to integrate nation-states through international organizations and the 
development of ever more inclusive international law would demolish the isolationist 
vision of a Puritan Utopia where a largely white Protestant nation remained secure in its 
land, resources, and people. There was no reason to go abroad when the new Zion had all 
that it needed to flourish and the outside world threatened cultural, racial, economic, and 
political diffusion."* 

^'''lan Mugridge, The View from Xanadu: William Randolph Hearst and United States Foreign 
Policy (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1995), 127-52: Richard Norton Smith, The 
Colonel: The Life and Legend of Robert R. McCormick, 1880-1955 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 
1997), 387-419: Johnson, The Peace Progressives, 151-236: Richard Coke Lower, A Bloc of One: 
The Political Career of Hiram W. Johnson (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1993), 307- 
33: Robert James Maddox, William E. Borah and American Foreign Policy (Baton Rouge: 
Louisiana State University Press, 1970), 215-47: Wayne Cole, Senator Gerald P. Nye and 
American Foreign Relations (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1962), 151-201. 

^'^Dreiser, Is America Worth Saving?, 16-58: Wayne Cole, America First: The Battle against 
Intervention, 1940-1941 (New York: Octagon Books, 1971). A comprehensive collection of 
isolationist thought can be found in Justus D. Doenecke, ed.. In Danger Undaunted: The Anti- 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Interpreting the Nazi tlireat in tlie years just before Pearl Harbor, the America First 
Committee applied systematic reasoning to oppose America's intervention. The threat of 
Nazism, acknowledged as a brutal regime, was broken down into potential political, 
economic, and strategic scenarios. The risks of Nazi victory were examined against the 
isolationist intellectuals' assessment of the potential costs of preventing it. The 
arguments, most often supported with graphs and tables, always suggested the limits of 
German power. Even without American intervention, so the argument went, the Nazis 
could dominate all of Europe and the vast regions of European colonization. They would 
exhaust themselves with the limited resources at their disposal. The Nazi conquests 
would be unsustainable and open to attack by the free countries of the Western 
Hemisphere and elsewhere. American intervention on the scale envisioned by the 
Roosevelt administration would threaten the stability of the still fragile U.S. economy and 
risk the loss of perhaps millions of young men to defeat Adolf Hitler. 

In the script and political epistemology for American internationalism, human 
freedom at that time and for generations unborn required the United States to destroy 
Nazism. There was no hope of compromise. War, no matter the cost, had to be fought and 
won. Interwar internationalism viewed the world from a social scientific as well as 
historical perspective. The internationalist ideology viewed the pervasive threat of Nazi 
victory as a central assault on the survival of liberal civilization. Freedom required a 
moral crusade against the Hitlerites. No matter the cost or sacrifice, the American liberal 
internationalists at the end of the interwar period called for the total defeat of the Third 
Reich. It was entirely clear to the New York Times, the New Herald Tribune, and the 
Roosevelt administration that the Nazi threat exceeded the threats of all previous 
European powers with respect to American national security. It was very clear to 
internationalists, most of whom had strong cultural and ethnic affiliations to Europe, that 
war was necessary. The internationalist or neo-Wilsonian script would not countenance a 
fascist world or pan-fascist Europe. 

Somewhat ironically, internationalists and isolationists shared many of the same 
methods of analysis for understanding the international environment. Both groups used 
comparative statistics and financial, strategic, and political analyses to support their 
positions. Neither side was misled by the respective natures of Nazism, Japanese 
imperialism, or Soviet communism, nor did they underestimate the prospective costs of 
the war to the United States. The relative preparedness of the country for war was 
understood by both sides to be poor. Yet, because their interpretative frameworks were so 
radically different, based upon alternative concepts of national interest, their conclusions 
were diametrically opposed to one another. In viewing the fascists just prior to American 
intervention, the nationalist isolationists and pro-war internationalists experienced quite 
similar emotions. Fear of and revulsion against the Nazi threat were common. American 
culture was united by a common appreciation of the value of the personal freedom 
afforded by a democratic constitution and the practice of civil liberties. In general, nearly 

interventionist Movement of 1940-1941 as Revealed in the Papers of the America First Committee 
(Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1990). 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

all Americans favored the development of democratic institutions around the world. Yet, 
with respect to American intervention in foreign lands, two different scripts energized 
citizens in different directions.^"' 

The Technocratic Path: Nazi Germany 

A central question in the international history of the twentieth century concerns 
Hitler's rise to power. As noted, the consensus in the literature suggests that his ascension 
was concurrent with and a direct result of the world economic crisis of the early 1930s. 
Without the Great Depression, we may surmise. Hitler and Nazism would have declined 
and receded in German and European politics. The German script, it seemed, was 
connected to the Nazi script on an elemental level. The Germans had been utterly 
humiliated — in a sense, emasculated — by the terms of the war settlement. Interlocking 
scripts, cultural, political, group, institutional, and individual, were joined in the late 
1920s and early 1930s as the Great Depression unfolded in North America and Europe. 
The world crisis became a German crisis, and the scripts that would create the path for 
Adolf Hitler responded to the world crisis. There is no doubt that Hitler came to power in 
Germany because of the opportunity of the world economic crisis of 1929 to 1933. The 
power of his rhetoric and the brutal tactics of his party resonated with the latent 
pathologies within the German public. With prosperity, the Nazi movement would have 
been lost; but with the desperation of the depression that came upon Central Europe, the 
organizing currents for German totalitarianism, found in the culture and institutions of 
early twentieth-century Germany, responded to Hitler like clockwork.^" 

Under his charismatic leadership, the far-right Nazi party instilled fear in a public that 
had known genuine parliamentary democracy for only a decade. In 1932 and 1933, the 
Nazis used every political tactic, as well as their leader's impassioned ultranationalist 
rhetoric, to move within striking range of a plurality in a national election. They won 
using the modern techniques of a mass media campaign as well as the tactical 
depolyment of the brownshirts to intimidate opponents of the right and the left. 

When Hitler assumed the role of chancellor in January 1933, all Europe and indeed 
the world knew that he was a grave threat to world peace. His intentions and behaviors. 

Wayne Cole, Roosevelt and the Isolationists, 1932-45 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1983), 141-86, 274-330: Cole, America First, 51-103: Casey, Cautious Crusade, 16-30: 
Drummond, The Passing of American Neutrality, 49-111; Divine, The Illusion of Neutrality, 286- 
335: Charles Beard, The Devil Theory of War (New York: Vanguard Press, 1936): John 
Chamberlain, The American Stakes (Pathway, NJ: Quinn & Boden, 1940), 145-94: James J. 
Martin, American Liberalism and World Politics, 1931-1941: Liberalism's Press and Spokesmen 
on the Road Back to War between Mukden and Pearl Harbor, 2 vols. (New York: Devin-Adir, 
1964), 2:1139-88. 

^'^ Kershaw, Hubris, 316-495: Shirer, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, 117-230: Robert Clark 
Thomson, The Fall of the German Republic (New York: Pussell & Russell, 1964), 426-88: 
Mommsen, The Rise and Fall of Weimar Democracy, 490-544: Detlev Peukert, The Weimar 
RepubUc: The Crisis of Classical Modernity (New York: Hill and Wang, 1992), 249-72. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

since he had become a recognizable public figure in the early 1920s, were thoroughly 
transparent. His militant, overbearing attitude toward Germany's adversaries, so evident 
in his standard rally speech, was the quintessential design for his rise to preeminence. 
Hitler worked to become the leader of a radical antiliberal movement to recover what he 
had lost during the First World War. Clearly, he used hate as political tool, but it was a 
hatred grounded in his personal life history of disappointment and failure. He moved to 
the center of German history in 1933 and departed in 1945, after his world war left his 
country, and many on each side of it, in a state of catastrophic damage. The damage, both 
human and material, would haunt two generations after the war with the lessons of 
victory over an absolute evil. 

Hitler did not invent Nazism out of whole cloth, nor was he an independent agent that 
controlled its path. He was an agent of larger historical forces that moved quickly in the 
twentieth century and inflicted horrific crimes against human beings. Hitler's script was 
part of the Nazi script, and vice versa. The Nazi script organized the world into a racial 
pyramid. Nazi racial science promulgated the view that the Aryan race was biologically 
superior to all others. Referencing the race theory of intelligence that was common in the 
nineteenth century among many European and American intellectuals, the Nazi vision 
combined civilization and biology into a racial and patriarchal technocratic system of 
power. The National Socialist doctrine viewed Aryan eugenics as the most enlightened 
method of propagating a new and genetically superior race of Germanic peoples. The 
futurism of Nazi Germany envisioned a new Rome built on the innate warlike courage of 
Hitler's Germany, where school children were indoctrinated with pagan rituals of war 
and loyalty to the Nazi state. The symbolism and dramaturgy of Nazism projected a 
society that was undergoing a radical transformation into a new, thoroughly militarized 
nation. War would prove the superiority of German culture and biology in a world 
occupied by genetically inferior races. Through training, organization, and the dedicated 
application of scientific resources to the Nazi military-industrial complex. Hitler's regime 
expected to dominate Europe. The same general goals that had engaged an earlier 
generation of Germans would be operational for Hitler. To a large degree, much of what 
Hitler wanted, and much of what his followers oriented themselves toward, was a stable 
and integrated European state system that would, of course, be Germanized. The "master 
race" would expand from Germany through the heartland of European Russia. 
Undesirable racial elements would, of course, be eliminated. This was Hitler's plan in the 
early 1920s. It was clearly articulated in Mein Kampf and was being carried out, to the 
letter, right up until Soviet tanks penetrated the fatherland and the war was 
acknowledged, even by the Fiihrer, to be utterly lost.""* 

Jean-Michel Angebert, The Occult and the Third Reich: The Mystical Origins of Nazism and 
the Search for the Holy Grail (New York: Macmillan, 1974); Woodruff Smith, The Ideological 
Origins of Nazi Imperialism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986); Henry Friedlander, The 
Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution (Chapel Hill: University of North 
Carolina Press, 1995); William Brustein, Logic of Evil: The Social Origins of the Nazi Party, 
1925-1933 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996), 1-29; Mosse, The Crisis of German 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

Lebensraum and Race: Nazi Ideology 

During the interwar years, the essential beliefs about the origins of war by historians 
and social scientists reflected the understanding that war, as with all group conflict, was 
fundamentally economic in nature. Certainly, the economic origins of war coincided 
perfectly with textual understanding of National Socialism. Clearly, underlying National 
Socialist ideology were economic interests connected to the survival and security of the 
German nation-state. These interests were not disguised or coded. Rather, they were seen 
plainly by both the Nazis and their many adversaries around the world. Nazi race doctrine 
proclaimed the biological superiority of the Aryan race and its privilege to the resources 
of the east in the Slavic lands of Europe. Grain and oil, essential raw materials for the 
German economy, would be the spoils of conquest if the Reich were victorious in its war 
with the Soviet Union. The industrial systems of totalitarian societies require the physical 
possession of resources. International markets are costly and create potentially dependent 
relationships. Japanese fascism sought to secure the resources of East Asia through the 
creation of the Japanese "East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere." In this way, the iron, tin, 
rubber, rice, and oil of the Asian mainland and the Dutch East Indies would finance the 
creation of the Japanese East Asian superstate. Nazi designs on the Ukraine and the oil- 
rich Caucasus region had the same objective. Mussolini's plans for a North African 
Italian empire were similar. In the Nazi and Italian fascist mythologies, the Germans and 
Italians were to reconstruct the Roman Empire. A new Roman age would be born, in 
which the blood bond of the Aryan nation would glory in its scientific-industrial 
achievements and its military power. ""^ 

The Japanese, Germans, Italians, and indeed all of the leading powers of the interwar 
period saw their destinies in the pursuit of technocratic civilization. Yet, it was a question 
of what kind of technocracy. The Nazi, Italian, Japanese, and Soviet technocracies were 
in many ways similar and dissimilar to the British, French, and American versions. All 
concepts of modernity, liberal, fascist, or Marxist-Leninist, contained the same ideas and 
visions of technological innovation. There was the increasing use of the new forms of 
energy and machinery, namely, hydrocarbon fuels, airplanes, private automobiles, fast 
ocean liners, and the like, as well as the new communication media of radio, cinema, and 
telephones. Stalin and Hitler were inspired by the new consumer society that was 
pioneered in the United States. Hitler embraced the concept of mass-produced 
automobiles; Stalin envisioned thousands of movie theaters entertaining Soviet 
communities in the remotest areas of the country. However, the totalitarian visions 
differed with regard to the final objectives of technocracy. National Socialist technocracy 

Ideology; Stackelberg, Hitler's Germany; Edmund Vermeil, "The Origin, Nature and Development 
of German Nationalist Ideology in the 19th and 20th Centuries, " in International Council for the 
Humanities, The Third Reich (New York: Howard Fertig, 1975), 3-112. 

Allan Bullock, "The Political Ideas of Adolf Hitler, " in International Council for the 
Humanities, Third Reich, 350—78, and Henry M. Pachter, "National-Socialist and Fascist 
Propaganda for the Conquest of Power, " in ibid., 710-42. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

would design a scientifically based nation of "racially pure" Aryans, where undesirable 
biological elements such as the Jews and Romany peoples of Europe, as well as others, 
would be eliminated. Simultaneously, the Nazi vision was clean, antiseptic, and modern 
(with advanced engineering concepts for architecture, industry, and military weapons 
systems) as well as anachronistic in its resurrection of pagan rites and the glorification of 
the ancient mythologies of the Teutonic tribes and the Roman Empire. ^^^ 

During the relatively peaceful and cooperative decade of the 1920s, it was apparent 
that despite the new regime for collective security in international relations, the great 
powers were profoundly leery of each other's actions and behaviors. There was no 
question that national interests continued to rule international strategy. All of the major 
nation-states had clear national objectives separate from those of their allies as well as 
their adversaries. French foreign policy viewed containment of Germany as essential, but 
strictly in the context of French national security. The French were wary of Anglo- 
American domination as well as the aggressive nature of France's historic enemy. Britain 
had economic and strategic rivalries with France as well as with Russia and the United 
States. Germany had to be contained, but the Soviet Union was a threat to British 
interests in her commonwealth. The Soviets viewed all the capitalist countries as enemies 
but started a covert alliance of military cooperation with the Weimar Republic to subvert 
the Versailles system. In the Far East, the United States and Great Britain contained the 
path of Japanese expansion. All of the great powers wanted to protect their interests in the 
Pacific, and each had its particular nationalist, self-defined vision of the balance of power 
in that part of the world. In the last analysis, despite the mediation of the League of 
Nations, which concluded a series of important international peace treaties during the 
1920s, the institutional structure for international relations in the interwar period seemed 
wholly inadequate in a world dominated by a half-dozen great powers. Despite the formal 
commitment to liberal internationalism as a foundation of international law and 
diplomatic method, each power connected to its own particular understandings of world 
affairs and the scripted dimensions of its own foreign policies.'^' 

Barkai, Nazi Economics, 158-242; R. J. Overy, War and Economy in the Third Reich 
(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), 261—314; Albert Speer, Infiltration (London: Weidenfeld and 
Nicolson, 1981); Sheila Fitzpatrick, ed., Stalinism: New Directions (New York: Routledge, 2001); 
Robert C. Tucker, Stalin in Power: The Revolution from Above, 1928-1941 (New York: Norton, 
1990), 44-118; Philip Shamojf, Principles of Scientific Socialism: A Primer on Marxism-Leninism 
(Palo Alto, CA: Ramparts Press, 1983); Erik P. Hoffmann and Robbin F. Laird, Technocratic 
Socialism: The Soviet Union in the Advanced Industrial Era (Durham, NC: Duke University, 
1985), 33-120. 

Iriye, After Imperialism, 25-88, and Power and Culture, 1-35; Hall, Britain, America, and 
Arms Control, 116-90; Leffler, Elusive Quest, 231-315; Costigliola, Awkward Dominion, 184- 
261; Robert Boyce, ed., French Foreign and Defence Policy, 1918-1940: The Decline and Fall of a 
Great Power (New York: Routledge, 1998); Steven Merritt Miner, Between Churchill and Stalin: 
The Soviet Union, Great Britain, and the Origins of the Grand Alliance (Chapel Hill: University of 
North Carolina Press, 1988); F. S. Northedge and Audrey Wells, Britain and Soviet Communism: 
The Impact of a Revolution (London: Macmillan, 1982); Eric Ericson, Feeding the German Eagle: 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

The literature on the origins of the Second World War suggests, in the strongest 
terms, that although there was a broad intellectual understanding of the necessity of 
collective security in world affairs, unilateralism remained a far stronger force. There was 
no effective international response to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. The Italian 
aggression against one of two independent native countries on the African continent was 
met with a feeble embargo on war materials. An oil embargo might have brought 
Mussolini to his knees, yet the collective will to implement such a measure was not 
present. The same was true in the case of the Spanish Civil War, the German occupation 
of the Rhineland, the Austrian annexation, and, finally, the most notorious act of 
appeasement, the Munich pact of October 1938. Appeasement was the Western script in 
its response to the crisis of Nazi ascendance. The lessons of the Great War had forced the 
psychological reorientation of early twentieth-century nation-states from the glorification 
of national wars to their near rejection, under almost all circumstances. The avoidance of 
war was the paramount objective of the West in its response to Adolf Hitler. The Nazis 
could worship war. They could bask in the vision of ancient imperial Rome reborn in the 
eagle and swastika. The pagan symbols of the Third Reich, paraded by tens of thousands 
of dedicated followers in torch-lit marches, carried Nazi culture to a level of collective 
euphoria. Indeed, the Nazis could militarize the German state to whatever level of war 
preparedness they required. Yet, the democracies of Western Europe and North America 
could hardly worship militarism. The liberal technocratic script/ideology demanded 
appeasement. The response was wholly inadequate and very quickly disastrous, but the 
collective aversion to war in the democracies superseded the alternative script for an 
active strategic coalition against the Germans. ^^^ 

Soviet Union: Stalinism and the International System 

In most respects, with the important exception of the Holocaust, Stalin's domestic 
practices and state ideology were even more controlled and repressive than those of 
National Socialism. Both regimes subscribed to the absolutist state in the Jacobin 
tradition. Yet Stalin, following the Bolshevik methods established by Lenin, was willing 
to "liquidate" any "class" whom he perceived to be an obstacle to the building of his 
power. The individual had even fewer rights under Stalin than under Hitler. Stalin's script 
was consistent with the brutality of czarist rulers since medieval times. Yet, in terms of 

Soviet Economic Aid to Nazi Germany, 1933-1941 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1999), 1-71; Tobias 
R. Philbin, The Lure of Neptune: German-Soviet Naval Collaboration and Ambitions, 1919-1941 
(Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1994), 1-21, 41—77. 

^^^Andrew J. Crozier, The Causes of the Second World War (Maiden, MA: Blackwell, 1997), 
75-146; Offner, American Appeasement; Robert Edwin Herzstein, Roosevelt and Hitler: Prelude to 
War (New York: Wiley, 1994), 71-106; Victor Rothwell, The Origins of the Second World War 
(New York: Palgrave, 2001), 56-96; Gerhard Weinberg, The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany, 
313-534; Gordon Martel, "Military Planning and the Origins of the Second World War, " in 
McKercher and Legault, Military Planning and the Origins of the Second World War in Europe, 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

the magnitude of his mthlessness, he far exceeded any of his precommunist predecessors. 
Through executions, forced population removals, and mass imprisonment in the Soviet 
Gulag, Stalin killed far more of his own people prior to the Second World War than the 
Nazis would through their destruction in 1945. The Nazis murdered millions of Jews, 
Gypsies, Russians, and Poles with little concern or remorse. The Soviets were not 
genocidal like their Nazi and Japanese totalitarian counterparts, but the state was 
perfectly capable of executing Stalin's orders to arrest millions of ordinary Soviets with 
little justification other than Stalin's paranoia.^^^ 

Stalin distinguished himself from Lenin in his concept of revolution. For Lenin, 
Trotsky, and other founders of the Soviet state, world revolution, not the development of 
Russian socialism, was the objective of the Communist Party. The early forays of Lenin 
to support socialist revolution in Germany and Eastern Europe were entirely consistent 
with the objectives of the leader of the first communist state. Stalin turned away from 
Lenin's goals. His personalist rule was designed to strengthen the Soviet Union — to build 
the former Russian empire into an industrialized, fully armed, modern state. To this end, 
he afforded no mercy to anyone who he thought impeded his rule or his goals. Massive 
heavy industrialization occurred in the Soviet Union from the late 1920s onward. The 
industrialization was linked inextricably not only to the burgeoning Soviet Gulag, but to 
the complete militarization of the country. 

As the West struggled with the Great Depression and the rise of Hitler and his fascist 
allies, Stalin assumed the hostility of the United States and Great Britain, just as he 
accepted the same enmity from Germany and Japan. The Soviets acted aggressively to 
forge diplomatic relations and both formal and informal ententes with the capitalist 
nation-states that surrounded them. Nonetheless, the lessons of Russian history were not 
lost on Lenin, Stalin, Molotov, and the remainder of the Soviet leadership. No matter the 
extent of their treaty relations with the West and with Japan and China in East Asia, the 
thrust of Soviet development policy was not only economic but military development of 
the highest order. When the German army attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, it invaded a 
country that was more heavily armed than the Third Reich. The massive strategic 
incompetence of Stalin and his purged military created the conditions for the grotesque 
disaster of the German invasion. However, Stalin would survive and so would the Soviet 
war machine, as the absolutist tyranny of the Soviet state fought an external enemy, the 
German Wehrmacht, with a ruthlessness equal to its invader' s..""" 

Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties (New York: Macmillan, 
1973), 214-90; J. Arch Getty, Origins of the Great Purges: The Soviet Communist Party 
Reconsidered, 1933-1938 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 113-71. 

"*John Erickson, The Soviet High Command: A Military-Political History, 1918-1941 
(Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2001), 449-509, 628-68; Institute for Military History, Germany and 
the Second World War, vol. 4, The Attack on the Soviet Union; Charles W. Sydnor Jr., Soldiers of 
Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division, 1933-1945 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University 
Press, 1990). 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

Through most of the interwar period, the Soviets were de facto allies of Germany. The 
Weimar Republic relied upon the Soviets to produce the planes and other weapons it was 
prohibited from manufacturing and deploying under the Versailles Treaty. Up until 
Hitler's Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, the Soviets supplied the Third Reich with the 
oil and foodstuffs it needed to carry on its war with the Allies. Under Stalin, the Soviet 
state was insular in its foreign relations, but it industrialized with enormous speed. By the 
start of the Second World War, the Soviets had built a military-industrial complex that 
was fully capable of supporting total war against Nazi Germany. Through universal 
conscription and heavy industrialization modeled on the mass production techniques 
pioneered by American industry, the Soviets had far more tanks, artillery, and aircraft 
than the German Wehrmacht. What the Soviets lacked was a modern military 
organization to effectively use the industrial armaments that its state industries had so 
dutifully produced. Like National Socialist Germany and fascist Italy, the Soviet Union 
was a thoroughly militarized state. When Hitler and Stalin signed their nonaggression 
pact in August 1939, each side viewed the other as a natural and inevitable enemy. There 
were few if any illusions about the practicality of the arrangement."*^' 

In a large sense, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were both modern technocratic 
nation-states dedicated to the application of technocratic knowledge. That is, they were 
oriented toward the use of modern science and engineering disciplines to solve the 
problems and pursue the objectives of their regimes. In the same way that the liberal 
nations of the West saw the hope and promise of applied technocratic knowledge for the 
development of greater wealth and efficiency. Hitler and Stalin focused on the 
development of weapons and industrial systems that would transform their nations into 
globally dominant military powers. At the same time, the personalist rule of both men, 
and in particular the antipathy that both men had toward power centers outside of their 
purview — for example, among scientists and engineers — created decidedly nonrational 
policies and institutions in both countries. Scholars have long described National 
Socialism as having a conflicted institutional regime in which power blocs under the 
control of "mini-Fuhers" competed for the approval of the maximum leader."^ The same 
was true under Stalin, who made decisions about economics and diplomacy strictly in 

^Dunn, The Soviet Economy and the Red Army; Wolfgang Leonhard, Betrayal: The Hitler- 
Stalin Pact of 1939 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989): Anthony Read and David Fisher, The 
Deadly Embrace: Hitler, Stalin and the Nazi-Soviet Pact, 1939-1941 (London: M. Joseph, 1988), 
221-59: Gabriel Gorodetsky, Grand Delusion: Stalin and the German Invasion of Russia (New 
Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999), 1-88: Bernd Wegner, ed.. From Peace to War: Germany, 
Soviet Russia, and the World, 1939-1941 (Providence, Rl: Berghahn Books, 1997): Jiirgen 
Forster, Joachim Hoffman, and Rolf-Dieler Miiller, "German War Policy and the Soviet Union 
1940-1941, " in Wilhelm Deist et al, Germany and the Second World War, vol. 4, The Attack on 
the Soviet Union (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 13-224. 

Monika Renneberg and Mark Walker, "Scientists, Engineers and National Socialism, " in 
Renneberg and Walker, Science, Technology and National Socialism, 1-30: JUrgen Forster, 
Operation Barbarossa as a War of Conquest and Annihilation in the Attack on the Soviet Union, 
481-524: David Crew, ed., Nazism and German Society, 1933-1945 (New York: Routledge, 1994). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

terms of consolidating and perpetuating liis rule as the only arbiter of state power in the 
Soviet Union. Under these circumstances, the rationality prized by interwar liberal 
institutions and intellectual communities was opposed by the romanticism of the personal 
rulers of the two most powerful totalitarian states in the interwar period. Under 
totalitarianism, technocratic knowledge was oriented toward the development of military 
power for the state. Yet, the lack of a more rational system of political control left both 
Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia to face the disadvantages that free societies, which 
valued individuals, were far less susceptible to.^^' 

Japanese Imperialism: The East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere 

Since the end of national isolation with the Meiji restoration in 1863, the Japanese had 
forged a determined program of industrialization and military modernization. Japan 
refused to accept the domination of the West. Instead of accepting European and 
American imperial designs on East Asia, the Japanese, over decades, strove to build their 
own regional empire. Like so many national scripts, the Japanese narrative placed the 
country at the center of the universe. The nation's self-perceived destiny was in its 
national icon: a red rising sun. At one with the physical and spiritual worlds, the Japanese 
drew upon the resources of their culture, discipline, self-sacrifice, and a vast group- 
centered identity. The formidable military traditions of Tokugawa Japan affected the 
expansion of the empire into Taiwan and the Korean peninsula. The Russo-Japanese war 
of 1904-1905 was a spectacular victory for Japanese naval power. It checked the 
expansion of Russia into Manchuria and established Japan as a major regional power.''* 

Japan maintained a formal military alliance system with Great Britain through the 
First World War and the 1920s, as both countries shared common interests in keeping 
Russian, American, and other great powers from dominating the western Pacific. 
Japanese participation in the First World War on the side of Great Britain and the Allies 
gave her possession of German colonies in the Pacific. By the 1920s, rising Japanese 
military power and territorial designs in East Asia made her a significant threat to all the 
Western powers. The Washington Conference of 1921-1922 attempted to limit Japanese 
expansion through treaty limitations on the size of great power navies. Despite its 
strategic and economic ascendancy, by the early 1930s Japan remained surrounded in 
East Asia by the great Western powers. All the Western nations had interests in China, 
including special treaty rights to ensure their access to the nation's markets and resources. 
The rest of Asia, including the Philippine and East Indian archipelagoes, French 

James McClain, Japan: A Modern History (New York: Norton, 2002), 439-41; Jonathan 
Arnason, Social Theory and Japanese Experience: The Dual Civilization (New York: Kegan Paul 
International, 1997), 75-162. For the Russo-Japanese war, see Kanichi Asawaka, The Russo- 
Japanese Conflict: Its Causes and Issues (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1972); John Albert 
White, The Diplomacy of the Russo-Japanese War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 
1964), 263-329; Shumei Okamoto, The Japanese Oligarchy and the Russo-Japanese War (New 
York: Columbia University Press, 1970), 105—63. 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

Indochina, British Malaya, Burma, and the Indian subcontinent, fell under the 
sovereignty of the Europeans and the Americans. The white man controlled Asia, with 
the exception of Japan. 

The militarization of the Japanese government with the coup of 1930 forged the 
national script on its path toward the Pacific war and Japan's global alliance with 
European fascism. Japanese fascism aimed, like its European counterparts, to dominate, 
exploit, and conquer whatever it could for the aggrandizement of the state and the nation. 
Underlying all fascist ideologies are common social and psychological needs. A nation- 
state acts with belligerence and brutality only when this is allowed by its political culture. 
The political culture of all regimes that exhibit highly authoritarian or totalitarian 
behavior, including pervasive militarism, is a belief system grounded in deep emotional 
impairment. Fascist behaviors have been, and will be, exhibited by individuals in most 
cultures. When an individual, in any milieu, acts with deep verbal and or physical 
aggression, by definition he or she is a fascist. Fascism's most identifiable emotion is 
intense anger channeled at one's enemies. The emotion of deep, uncontrolled anger must 
have its source ultimately in serious individual deprivations, including, most especially, 
the ontological insecurity of a profoundly absent self-esteem. The fascist script channels 
anger; it externalizes collective emotions of rage and betrayal into organized social and 
political behavior. In a fascist state, the authoritarian script becomes so prevalent that it 
seizes control not only of the nation-state but of the culture itself, permeating individual 
and collective narratives that support the institutional tyranny. ^^' 

Without a political culture and social structure to institutionalize democracy, as 
understood in Western society, and with a cultural and political system grounded in a 
history of warfare, internal or external or both, the totalitarian and fascist forms dominate. 
So in Japan, as in Germany, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Romania, and elsewhere, various 
strains of fascism attained legitimacy and institutional control. In Japan, as in Nazi 
Germany, fascism was despotic and genocidal. The Japanese army, acting without the 
consent of the emperor, attacked and annexed Manchuria in 1931-1932. It did so with the 
extreme arrogance and brutality one would expect from a fascist society acculturated with 
a complete lack of empathy or value for foreign civilians of any kind. In Japan, as in Nazi 
Germany, territorial expansion was designed to acquire control over resources and to 
enable the expansion of the nation, physically and biologically. The Japanese needed 
Manchuria's iron ore, coal, and timber. On the vast Chinese coastal plain, Japanese 
colonists would provide an essential agriculture base for feeding a densely overpopulated 
mother country. The same was true for Indochina, Malaya, and the East Indies. All were 
critical regional sources of vital raw materials for the Japanese civilian and military 

Ramon H. Myers and Mark R. Peattie, eds., The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895-1945 
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984); W. G. Beasley, Japanese Imperialism, 1894— 
1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987): Mark R. Peattie, Ishiwara Kanji and Japan's 
Confrontation with the West (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975), 141-222: 
Yoshihisa Tak Matsusaka, The Making of Japanese Manchuria, 1904-1932 (Cambridge, MA: 
Harvard University Press, 2001), 390^08. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

sectors. In its pursuit of national strength! and greatness through territorial expansion, 
Japan mixed the scientific-industrial ideology of the West with its native despotism. The 
attacks on Shanghai and Nanking in 1937 by Japanese forces matched the ferocity of the 
most vicious genocidal assaults that the Germans committed against Jewish and other 
European populations during the Second World War.'*'"' 

Munich: The Appeasement Script 

When Hitler, Chamberlain, and Daladier met in Munich in September 1938, the next 
European war was less than a year away. The Germans were not quite ready, and Hitler 
was not supremely confident, but his aggressive negotiation succeeded in convincing the 
British prime minister and French premier of his sincerity. The personal scripts for these 
leaders clicked in a dark play of betrayal and duplicity that would mark the collective 
memory of an entire generation. With Munich, the Western powers focused their entire 
diplomatic energies on preventing what seemed almost inevitable. Like their leaders, the 
scripts of the participating powers were now marked for the working out of the infamous 
drama. In exchange for a promise of peace, Britain and France, with the acquiescence of 
the distant but powerful United States and the formal agreement of the Soviet Union, 
gave Hitler the German-speaking areas of Czechoslovakia. This seemed a natural and 
logical course to the leaders who met with Hitler and his junior ally, Benito Mussolini. If 
a war could be avoided, it had to be, given the profound inhibitions that public opinion in 
all the European countries had about a new conflict that could destroy as many lives as 
the GreatWar of 1914-1918."' 

Hitler did not have the means to fight a two-front war in 1938. He lacked the trained 
manpower and equipment to attack the Czechoslovakian army in the east and the French 
and British armies in the west. Yet, his posture of beguiling sincerity deluded Neville 
Chamberlain into accepting Hitler's promises. The Munich agreement sealed the fate of 
Czechoslovakia and, in a larger sense, the whole of Europe. Hitler's narrative interfaced 
with those of his British and French counterparts. The moment that the Anglo-French 
statement of October 1938 allowed for the dismemberment of one of the successor states 
to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the national scripts of all the participating European 
nation-states shifted toward the pan-European civil war. At that moment, fascist ideology 
gained legitimacy in Europe. Germany had overthrown every aspect of the Versailles 
system. The technocratic order, structured chiefly by Anglo-American designs in the 
1920s, was now completely gone. Hitler had received a bloodless political triumph that 

' Chang, The Rape of Nanking, 35-104; Timothy Brook, ed., Documents on the Rape of 
Nanking (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999). 

Martin Thomas, "France and the Czechoslovak Crisis, " in Igor Lukes and Erik Goldstein, 
eds.. The Munich Crisis, 1938: Prelude to World War II (London: Frank Cass, 1999), 122-59, and 
Erik Goldstein, "Neville Chamberlain, the British Official Mind and the Munich Class, " in ibid., 
276-92; Parker, Chamberlain and Appeasement, 156-99; Telford Taylor, Munich: The Price of 
Peace (New York: Vintage Books, 1980). 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

would now allow him to prepare for the final crisis of prewar Europe: Germany's 
demands on Poland. 

Appeasement was a complete negation of the West's war against imperial Germany 
during the First World War. It was a natural result of the trauma that the allied nations 
had suffered over four years of catastrophic casualties in trench warfare. The Germans 
had suffered as much or more, not only during that war, but also in all the years that 
followed the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Of course, Nazism emerged out of the 
pathos of the trauma in Germany. In Great Britain, France, and the United States, 
powerful scripts disabled the ability of leaders to challenge Nazism. For the redeemer 
nation, Franklin Roosevelt could do nothing more than show his open allegiance to the 
Allies of Western Europe. The ability to respond in the face of evil was controlled by the 
isolationist framework of the American national script. When the West betrayed 
Czechoslovakia, the redeemers could only watch with worry and indignation.''''^ 

The Failures of the Liberal Metascript 

Scholars who have explored the institutional and ideological aspects of the interwar 
period find just as much chaos and irrationality as order and rationality. This 
generalization includes not only liberal regimes but also Hitler's National Socialism and 
Stalinism. There was no rationality to Stalin's brutal collectivization, planned famines, 
and party purges. Despite their overwhelming destructiveness, they occurred throughout 
his regime with enormous ferocity. "Scientific socialism" was technocratic, but the term 
does not equate to efficiency or logic. The same was true of Nazism. Hitler's political 
organization of the Third Reich did not rationalize the use of economic or political 
resources. There was no effective or coherent organization of Germany's formidable 
scientific establishment for military production. Some projects, which caught the 
attention of the Fiihrer, were favored and given highest priority, while others were placed 
in much less favored positions. The extent of scientific or technical efficiency in any of 
the totalitarian states was a function of political power and expediency. Similarly, in the 
United States and other liberal societies, the rational control of society through state 
planning and/or markets was merely an ideal. Planning in liberal, authoritarian, or 
totalitarian systems was always a function of a wide range of economic and political 
interests. In this way, the technocratic script for modernity was incorporated into group, 
institutional, and national scripts, as designs or mechanisms for action."' 

By the late 1930s, the Axis countries were expanding with impunity. The Japanese 
were engaged in full-scale war with Chiang Kai-shek's China. Mussolini had occupied 
Ethiopia and with Hitler was aiding Franco in his successful counterrevolution against the 
Spanish republic. Finally, the Nazi war machine was mobilizing rapidly to begin its 

Neville, Appeasing Hitler, 76-1 76; Offner, American Appeasement, 245-80. 

See Ulrich Albrecht, "Military Technology and National Socialist Ideology, " in Renneberg 
and Walker, Science, Technology and National Socialism, 88-125, and Kristie Macrakis, "The 
Ideological Origins of Institutes: The Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft in National Socialist Germany, " 
in ibid., 139-59. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

blitzkrieg wars against Poland, France, the Low Countries, Scandinavia, and 
subsequently the Soviet Union. The fascists challenged the liberal script for the future of 
European and world civilization. Even if Hitler hoped to maintain the British Empire, his 
goal was an Aryan/Teutonic world of racial purity and hierarchy. According to the 
pathological script of Nazism, there would be a new time on earth when the human race, 
conveniently divided and stratified by Nazi biology, would rid itself of "inferior" 
bloodlines. The Nazi order promised German supremacy in Europe and eventually 
everywhere, with the eradication of Jews, most Slavs, and other undesirable elements, 
both racial and ideological. It was a vision that Hitler shared with most of his nation and 
that was indoctrinated into the totalitarian reality of the Third Reich. 

With no framework for meaningful collective security in place, the liberal script 
failed. The liberal technocratic order, born of high hopes and determination to build a 
new international system with the use of scientific, commercial, and legal constitutional 
means of control, had no institutional or cultural framework for coping with either the 
Great Depression or the fascist challenge of the Nazi regime. It was not a question of 
agency. In the wake of the destruction visited by the Great War, the public in the West 
lacked any coherent will to wage total war against an irredentist Germany. Hitler, master 
of demagoguery and political ideology, mobilized German militarism to wage a war of 
revenge. There was no path to avoid him. The fascist script, a narrative for militarism 
and, in the case of Germany, industrial genocide, moved Hitler into the center of world 
history. Of course he was a ruthless destroyer, but like Stalin and other leaders of 
totalitarian regimes, he was following the dictates of an enraged and pathological psyche. 
The injured psyche came from the heart of his culture. It was a culture that produced in 
the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a response to modernity that gave human 
life little intrinsic value. Hitler brought Germany into war not because of the failure of the 
French, British, and Poles to respond to his final territorial demands, but because his 
mission was set many years before in his prison autobiography, Mein Kampf. It was "his 
struggle," and by executing his plan some fifteen years later, he was fulfilling the terms 
of his deluded script.''"''' 

The redeemer nation watched as Hitler organized his political system to wage war 
against Germany's neighbors and rivals. With a national script that forced him to lie 
literally on the water's edge, Roosevelt and his foreign policy establishment could do 
almost nothing. Hitler skillfully moved his nation toward total war. Without any mandate 
from the public to go to war, the president could only watch with anxiety as the Nazi war 
machine attacked and destroyed Poland, occupied half of Scandinavia and the Low 
Countries, and then, in May and June 1940, invaded and conquered France. 

The American history of the Second World War begins with the return of the 
redeemer nation to internationalism. A country wrapped in the solitude of its own internal 
dilemmas, in the splendid geographic isolation of North America, could only summon 
itself after a critical mass had been reached. Only after the Nazi war machine had crushed 

^^'' Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (reprint, Boston: Houghton Mijflin, 1999), 607-67; Goldhagen, 
Hitler's Willing Executioners, 49-128; Clay and Leapman, Master Race, 11-39. 


The Interwar System: 1919-1939 

the French and occupied Paris, with the rest of Europe threatened, including the survival 
of Great Britain and her empire, did the redeemer nation rise again to its historical role 
within the Western script. Even then it was only after the attack on Pearl Harbor that the 
country became united unequivocally to destroy the fascists and returned the nation to its 
neo-Wilsonian and technocratic vision for the international system. 


Chapter IV 
Defending the Free World: The Technocratic War 

A common view in thie literature suggests thiat thie First and Second World Wars were 
essentially two parts of the same conflict, a massive conflagration to reorder power in 
Europe. Quite safely, one can say that the Second World War finished the first one. The 
European national scripts that collided in 1914 had remained without resolution until a 
second cataclysmic conflict killed fifty million people, half of them citizens of the Soviet 
Union. The war brought all of Europe and the European empires, all of East Asia and 
North America into a sweeping global holocaust involving huge land wars, aerial 
armadas, and epic naval battles. The Second World War was as vast a conventional 
conflict as the world seemed capable of. The exigencies of total war maximized the 
mobilization of national resources. Fighting a worldwide military-scientific-industrial 
war compelled the industrial and military mobilization of each of the great powers. Over 
five years, they produced the enormous military forces that thousands of books and films 
have portrayed in the war's extraordinary literature. ^^"^ 

The Second World War was a conflict of such sweeping magnitude that no one 
treatment or synthesis, let alone a chapter in a book, could offer a comprehensive 
treatment. In six decades of postwar history, many hundreds of distinct war literatures 
have emerged, not to mention the production of thousands of films and documentaries 
that have chronicled the conflict. International wars can be viewed from many different 
national and ideological perspectives. It would be the height of intellectual arrogance to 

^See Keegan, The Second World War; Weinberg, A World at Arms; Joanna Burke, The 
Second World War: A People's History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); Research 
Institute for Military History, Germany in the Second World War, 6 vols. (New York: Oxford 
University Press, 1990-2001); Ministry of Defense, Great Britain, War with Japan, 6 vols. 
(London: HMSO, 1995); Iriye, Power and Culture; Christopher Thorne, Allies of a Kind: The 
United States, Britain, and the War against Japan, 1941-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 
1978); Dower, War without Mercy. 

Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

claim exclusivity in the value of one narrative over all others. To a degree, every 
perspective has validity in its own right, though historians are under no obligation to 
afford it. A conflict of such enormity as the Second World War can be seen and 
interpreted from the perspectives of the hundreds or even thousands of distinct groups 
and nationalities that were part of it. No one treatment of the war can encompass the 
narratives of diplomacy, strategic and operational warfare, domestic politics, and the vast 
social history of the war, including the Holocaust, and the other tragedies that befell the 
civilian populations of the combatant nations in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The 
idea in this chapter is to maintain and develop the central thesis of this work: to view and 
interpret the war as a technocratic process in relation to American foreign relations and 
the international system. The narrative's objective remains to show the leaderships, 
institutions, and events of the conflict with respect to the theory of modern history as 
technocratic culture and political economy. The redeemer nation, America, carried the 
narrative of the war on its own terms into the postwar world. 

The Technocratic War 

In America, during the 1940s, we find the scripts, knowledge systems, and institutions 
that formed the result of the Second World War, namely, the reconstitution of the liberal 
technocratic order. As explored in the previous chapter, the beginning of the war found a 
conflicted nation-state facing an international system it rejected, but to which it was 
simultaneously connected. The nation was repelled and attracted, disinterested and 
committed to a vast international community in desperate need of its intervention. In the 
end, the script for the second international war of the twentieth century drew the 
redeemer nation into its role. It would build its war potential with the means of its 
scientific-industrial base and with the mobilization patterns of its democratic political 
system. The epistemologies and institutions of the new war would carry forward and 
indeed create the next stage in the technocratic epoch. '''"^ 

Throughout the largest war in human history, rationality and irrationality seemed to 
test the concepts of leadership and organization. The major protagonists, namely. Hitler, 
Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill, did not show perfect rationality in their decisions. 
Hitler's racial state was not rational, nor was Stalin's Soviet Union. Nor were the liberal 
states rational in the sense of responding coherently to existing conditions in the 
international or domestic environments. Hitler often ordered his army to do things based 
on his own intuition or impulse. Over the course of the war, he allowed the Third Reich 
to spend large amounts of scarce resources on impractical projects. In 1940, with absolute 
victory within his grasp, he foolishly let the British escape from Dunkirk with four 
hundred thousand trained soldiers. Fearing that his tanks would become trapped in the 
uneven terrain of the marshes. Hitler halted his panzer divisions just as they reached the 
evacuation area for the British army. In 1941, he launched Operation Barbarossa, vainly 

^^^Hooks, Forging the Military-Industrial Complex, 9-56; Sapolsky, Science and the Navy, 
225-65; Yarmolinsky, The Military Establishment, 99-152, 378-84. 


Defending the Free World: The Technocratic War 

confident that the Soviets would collapse in a matter of weeks or months. Later, in the 
winter of that year, as the Soviets launched a powerful counteroffensive. Hitler 
encouraged the Japanese to go to war against the United States and honored his pledge to 
Japan by declaring war four days after Pearl Harbor. In the space of six months. Hitler 
expanded the war against the British to include both the Soviets and the Americans — a 
prescription for a two-front war he was bound to lose. 

Of course, his adversaries, the Western Allies, belied the same notion of rationality. 
From his initial rise to power, they appeased Hitler. From the mid-1930s when he tore up 
the Versailles Treaty and began his huge military expansion, through the infamous 
Munich agreement, they allowed the most potent enemy of the liberal order to unite his 
nation. Then, when Hitler struck in 1940 across the Dutch, Belgian, and French frontiers, 
the Allies were caught with a hopelessly outdated defense plan. Despite the enormous 
fortifications of the Maginot Line and five million soldiers from throughout its empire, 
France fell within weeks, and the British raced to evacuate at Dunkirk. ''^^ 

The political, military, and economic strategy of all the great powers did not seem to 
make particular sense in the 1930s and 1940s. It was all more or less crisis management 
with some pursuit of long-term goals. However, that is how most policy work is done. 
The strategic rationality that historians find over time reflects the overall scripted nature 
of the behavior of institutions and nation-states. Hitler, Roosevelt, Stalin, Churchill, 
Mussolini, and Tojo made decisions that directed huge military forces to engage each 
other in a titanic struggle for world power. Yet institutions structured the narratives, 
themselves most often conflicted by competing scripts. In the end, there was a broad 
confluence of motives and outcomes for the war, in which the victors and the losers could 
reconcile, among themselves, the true (scripted) meaning of the war. At the very highest 
level of analysis, that of the international system, the war was a technocratic process that 
destroyed much of the prewar world and replaced it with new institutions and knowledge 
systems that resonated in the history of postwar America, Europe, and East Asia.''* 

'^Kershaw, Nemesis, 287-336; Shirer, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, 731-37, and The 
Collapse of the Third Republic: An Inquiry into the Fall of France in 1940 (Cambridge, MA: Da 
Capo Press, 1994), 604-779: W. J. R. Gardner, The Evacuation from Dunkirk: Operation Dynamo, 
26 May-4 June 1940 (London: Frank Cass, 2000): Bryan I. Fugate, Operation Barbarossa: 
Strategy and Tactics on the Eastern Front, 1941 (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1984): Alexander, 
How Hitler Could Have Won World War II, 32-33: Wilhelm Deist et al., Germany and the Second 
World War, vol. 4, The Attack on the Soviet Union (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 
13—25. Despite striking superiority in tanks as well as comparable strength in airpower between 
the Luftwaffe and the combined Anglo-French air forces, superior German military strategy 
overwhelmed the French and British expeditionary force. 

Mark Stoler, Allies and Adversaries: The Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Grand Alliance, and U.S. 
Strategy in World War II (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000): Leffler, 
Preponderance of Power, 1-24: Hogan, The Marshall Plan, 26-53: Peter Calvocoressi, Fall Out: 
World War II and the Shaping of Postwar Europe (New York: Longman, 1997): David Reynolds, 
ed.. The Origins of the Cold War in Europe: International Perspectives (New Haven, CT: Yale 
University Press, 1994). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

The Second World War visited world affairs with the massive display of the German 
blitzkrieg against Poland. A million and a half troops of the Wehrmacht, armed with 
heavy tank divisions, artillery, and ground attack airplanes, launched a devastating 
coordinated assault across Germany's eastern frontier, forcing Poland's surrender within 
three weeks. Seventeen days after the German assault, Soviet forces, also mechanized, 
launched their own invasion of Poland, capturing all territory east of Warsaw and the 
Vistula River. All of this was part of the secret protocol of the nonaggression pact signed 
just ten days earlier that created a de facto alliance between opposing totalitarian systems. 
The Russians observed the Germans warily, knowing full well the ideological 
predilections of the Nazis to conquer the east, including Russia and the Ukraine, for the 
fulfillment of lebensraum. In Russian eyes, the liberal world was no more sympathetic to 
their survival than were the National Socialists, and any way of deterring a massive and 
deadly German assault was worth pursuing, at least in the short term.^"*' 

In Asia, the interwar system for collective security had collapsed in similar fashion in 
the late 1930s. Japanese forces drove deep into China, attacking and conquering almost 
the entire coastal region of the country. They bombed all the major Chinese cities and 
committed atrocities on the scale of the Nazi invasion of Slavic Europe. The Japanese 
expansion was fueled as much by strategic fear and insecurity as by imperial ambitions 
for the "divine" nation. 

In Europe, after Munich, Hitler's territorial designs had turned to Poland. With the 
successful conclusion of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, a de facto alliance to divide 
Eastern Europe between Germany and the Soviet Union, the Nazis began the Second 
World War in Europe. Appeasement, a policy which seemed without limit, ended 
decisively in Europe when France and Great Britain declared war on the Third Reich, on 
September 3, 1939. An outraged Winston Churchill stated the West's position succinctly: 
"This is not a question of fighting for Danzig, or fighting for Poland. We are fighting to 
save the whole world from the pestilence of Nazi tyranny and in defense of all that is 
sacred to man." The war was nothing else but a defense of human freedom, and he 
refused to accept any argument to the contrary: 

This is no war of domination or imperial aggrandizement or material gain: 
no war to shunt any country out of its sunlight and means of progress. It is 
a war viewed in its inherent quality, to establish, on impregnable rocks, the 
rights of the individual, and it is a war to establish and revive the stature of 



Western appeasement would end in the Pacific some months before Pearl Harbor, 
when the United States, Great Britain, and China forced the Japanese to respond to a 
combination of Chinese military resistance and the denial of essential war materials 

^^'^ Read and Fisher, The Deadly Embrace, 92-102; Gorodetslcy, Grand Delusion, 11-22. 

Winston Churchill, "War, " speech before the House of Commons, September 3, 1939, in 
Blood, Sweat and Tears (New York: Putnam, 1941), 169-70. 


Defending the Free World: The Technocratic War 

through economic embargo. The Japanese, with the support of the European Axis, acted 
upon a ritualized path to defend their empire. Encircled by the European powers, which 
had always maintained the racial superiority of Europeans to Asians, they had lost faith in 
the possibility of securing their East Asian empire through diplomacy. Vulnerable to 
shortages of food, industrial materials, coal, and oil, the Japanese viewed their 
predicament as a lone Asian power surrounded by white oppressors. Despite its own 
assessment that the prospect of fighting and defeating the United States would be 
difficult, if not impossible, the "divine nation" chose to strike at its enemies.'''*' 

Up until the day of Pearl Harbor, the military catastrophes in Europe and Asia were 
not enough to end the redeemer nation's neutrality. The controlling script of the nation 
called for the country of George Washington to avoid the mistakes of Woodrow Wilson. 
As discussed, the isolationist script maintained American exclusion from the world war, 
even when its enemies, Nazi Germany and imperial Japan, were so clearly defined by the 
international media as treacherous and profoundly dangerous. Instead, the Roosevelt 
administration, committed to internationalism but politically strapped to its antithesis, 
worked diligently at a distinctly biased neutrality and a program of increasing industrial 
war mobilization. In addition to supplying the Allies with vital war materials by stocking 
their merchant ships in American ports, the administration had clear objectives for 
military mobilization. First, the federal government sought to augment America's 
severely undermanned and underequipped armed forces for continental defense. With the 
fall of France and the battle of the Atlantic, time was becoming more precious, and the 
nation accelerated its conversion to a war footing. After the successful German invasion 
of the Soviet Union in June 1941, and the U.S. shoot-on-sight orders against German 
ships and submarines in September 1941, war planning reached a level of almost certain 
intervention. The military budget increased dramatically, from less than a billion dollars a 
year in the mid-1930s to more than ten billion before Pearl Harbor. War appeared 
imminent, with the Nazis in almost total control of Europe, from the outskirts of 
Leningrad and Moscow to the Bay of Biscay on the western coast of France. As Japanese 
military forces were threatening to attack British and American possessions in the Pacific 
and Southeast Asia, direct American intervention became more and more certain. ''*' 

Among American internationalists, as in the isolationist camp, there were separate 
perspectives on the prospects for war. Different views, based upon institutional 
orientations toward the use of force and diplomacy, were found in the Washington 
establishment. As American participation in the war approached in the fall of 1941, 
Wilsonian internationalists, such as Cordell Hull and Franklin Roosevelt, believed in the 

Michael A. Barnhart, Japan Prepares for Total War: The Search for Economic Security, 
1919-1941 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1987), 237-73; Iriye, Power and Culture, 1-35; 
Thorne, Allies of a Kind, 51-53; Waldo Heinrichs, Threshold of War: Franklin D. Roosevelt and 
American Entry into World War II (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 180-220. 

^*'Dallek, Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 269-313; Drummond, The 
Passing of American Neutrality, 339-71; Christopher Morley, ed., Japan's Road to the Pacific War 
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1994). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

necessity of coalition warfare to coordinate a global strategy against the Axis. The 
Atlantic Charter of August 1941 incorporated the Wilsonian belief system in collective 
security to allow the triumph of liberal democracies in a world war against "Hitlerism." 
Political realists such as Walter Lippmann, who measured foreign policy objectives in 
strict terms of national interests, also saw no alternative other than to wage war. After the 
expansion of Nazi strength over the entire European continent, and Axis threats to North 
Africa and all of East and South Asia, it was plain to professional diplomats and soldiers 
that the Axis threat to national security could not be defeated without American 
participation in coalition warfare. Nationalist-oriented army generals and navy admirals 
saw the defeat of the Axis as a paramount concern. The strategic doctrines of the armed 
forces, based on the principles of war and the institutional memory of war, viewed future 
intervention as inevitable.'''*'' 

The Second World War also saw the maturation of the new form of internationalism 
whose outlines had become apparent during the First World War. The intensive war 
mobilization and strategic planning required during the initial period before Pearl Harbor 
saw the development of a genuine concept of technocratic internationalism. In a sense, 
the technocratic approach derived from Wilsonianism and the social science of the New 
Deal. Its presence was now felt as a distinct form of internationalism in American 
political culture. The technocratic or managerial ideology for foreign policy developed in 
parallel with the academic and political culture of America's emerging national security 
institutions. From the perspective of national planners in the State and War Departments, 
the strategic threat posed by the Axis required a global war. As war became more and 
more likely, the large-scale process of war mobilization accelerated under the 
organizational control of a managerial internationalism. The development of a war 
economy and culture would ultimately create a new technocratic ideology. The scientific 
and technological mobilization of American industry and universities, and the integration 
of this complex task into the military and diplomatic strategies of the government, built 
not only the wartime national security establishment; it also created the consciousness for 
the new ideology of postwar globalism. It was an ideology that would define postwar 
American foreign policy for the next two generations. Now there was an ideological 
framework and epistemology for internationalism that would shape the nature of U.S. 
national defense and the general strategic interest of what became known as the "free 

The informed opinion of the foreign policy elite favored declaring war on the Axis. 
Yet, the broad outlines of American public opinion still demanded constraints on 
American participation. Despite the advance of Nazi armies through Europe and the 
expansion of the Japanese empire through Asia, the American public favored total war 
only if the Axis openly attacked the United States. Although the Axis seemed 
everywhere, with the Gestapo ensconced in France, the Low Countries, Denmark, 

^^^Casey, Cautious Crusade, 3-45; Dallek, Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 
317-405; Ronald Steel, Walter Lippmann and the American Century (Boston: Little, Brown, 1980), 
393^17; Stoler, Allies and Adversaries, 41-83. 


Defending the Free World: The Technocratic War 

Norway, Poland, Yugoslavia, the Ukraine, White Russia, and the great Russian heartland; 
German and Italian armies moving through Greece and French and British North Africa; 
and Japanese armies through China and Vietnam, the American isolationists still had 
credibility with public opinion.^"''* For this reason, Roosevelt enabled the Axis to declare 
war in part through engineering the multinational ABCD oil embargo against the 
Japanese empire. The Japanese attack and the subsequent declarations of war by all three 
Axis powers were triggered by the active role that Roosevelt took in supplying the British 
and the Soviets with vital war material, and his collaboration with the British and Dutch 
East Indies authorities to deprive Japan of critical oil supplies. Within minutes of the 
Japanese carrier assault, the isolationist argument was rendered mute. Within days, the 
terms for victory involved not only the Pacific but also Berlin. ^''^ 

The Pearl Harbor attack transformed the conservative isolationist script. Conservative 
nationalism, insipid and pervasive in American public opinion as an opponent to war, 
overnight became the harbinger of the nationalist call to arms. Predictably, those political 
groups oriented toward nationalism and those defined by internationalism united under 
the banner of national defense and Americanism. The internationalist script, whose public 
ideology was carried by the White House, the New York Times, and the New York 
Herald Tribune, as well as millions of passionate believers in the internationalist creed 
and the threat of German and Japanese militarism, organized American national 
institutions for war. The spectacle of Nazi troops marching victoriously through the Arc 
de Triomphe in central Paris had galvanized East Coast internationalists in the spring and 
summer of 1940. Pearl Harbor, however, with the deaths of three thousand American 
seamen, was military dramaturgy of larger-than-life proportions. The Japanese 
coordinated their assaults all over the Pacific. As several hundred crack Japanese combat 
pilots attacked Hawaii, other forces engaged perfectly timed strikes against American and 
British forces in the western Pacific. They attacked the American Philippines and Guam 
and gained stunning victories there and in British Malaya, Singapore, and the Dutch East 
Indies. Yet, the script had turned. Pearl Harbor united the nation like no other event ever 
could have. The conflicted American political script, which tied the hands of Franklin 
Roosevelt, turned that morning in Hawaii when Japanese Zeros torpedoed American war 
ships, destroying the aging and nearly obsolete American Pacific battleship fleet.'" 

^'^Casey, Cautious Crusade, 40-44. 

^^^ Peter Wetzler, Hirohito and War: Imperial Tradition and Military Decision Making in Prewar 
Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1998), 12-60: Michael Gannon, Pearl Harbor 
Betrayed (New York: Henry Holt, 2000), 69-92: Geoffrey Perret, Days of Sadness, Years of 
Triumph: The American People 1939-1945 (New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1973), 
203-70; William L. O'Neill, A Democracy at War: America's Fight at Home and Abroad in World 
War II (New York: Macmillan, 1993), 129-52: Robert Ketchum, The Borrowed Years, 1938-1941: 
America on the Way to War (New York: Random House, 1989), 782-96. 

Stanley Weintraub, Long Day's Journey into War: December 7, 1941 (New York: Truman 
Talley Books, 1991); Denys Smith, America and the Axis War (New York: Macmillan, 1942); 
Fletcher Pratt, America and Total War (New York: Smith & Durrell, 1941); Ralph Ingersoll, 
America Is Worth Fighting For (New York: Bobbs Merrill, 1941); H. S. Commager et al, America 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

The Japanese assault, so stunning in its magnitude, made academic tlie sopliisticated 
attacks on the viability of American intervention. The rational arguments of both liberal 
and conservative anti-interventionists suddenly became moot. At once, the divergent 
American ideological systems for international relations coalesced into a complex mental 
universe. In the technocratic age, world war would be fought with increasing levels of 
organizational and technical complexity. The country would build its wartime 
institutions, its national security state, with the epistemologies for the new technocratic 
internationalism. The war would be won through the coalition warfare of the Grand 
Alliance; with the political, economic, and military mobilization of American society; 
and through the inspiration and psychological redoubt that the war against fascism could 
provide. For the redeemer nation, the Second World War symbolically cleansed the 
country. Through religion and nationalism, the war would restore the nation's native 
Protestant faith in its predestined role in world history. 

Like the First World War, the Second subscribed to the same pattern as virtually all of 
the international wars in modern history. The massive conflict was a complex interaction 
between the "imagined communities" of nation-states. In total, the Second World War 
stretched from the Arctic Circle north of the Norwegian coast to the fringes of the 
Japanese empire in the Solomon Islands archipelago. Yet, as with all other historical and 
contemporary international conflict systems, it involved the working out of national 
scripts. Scripts turned, as they did with the fall of France in June 1940. All over the map 
of the conflict, leaderships changed with the circumstances. In Great Britain, Winston 
Churchill was chosen to face the Nazi assault, just as in France the collapsing French 
resistance rallied around Charles De Gaulle. The epic nature of the conflict, with its 
profound disasters and triumphs, changed the collective identity of nations. Collective 
narratives were transmogrified, emboldened, diminished, or destroyed by the Second 
World War. In the war between the Grand Alliance and the Axis, nation-states and the 
international system were transformed, politically and institutionally. Victory for Stalin, 
Churchill, and Roosevelt left a new bipolar system. The United States, undisputed leader 
of the West, supplanted both Great Britain and France as the ultimate arbiter of the liberal 
technocratic script. The German and Japanese nations were destroyed and rebuilt in the 
image of their occupiers. The liberal postwar republics of the conquered fascist states 
would become near diametric opposites of their predecessor regimes. Militarism was all 
but eliminated from West German and Japanese cultures. Constitutionally, these nations 
would remain noninterventionist, unable to wage war again, politically or 

In the end, the postwar world was a partial fulfillment of the liberal technocratic 
script. The new order for the world would be peaceful but would be dominated by the 
long-term and dangerous military rivalry between the victors. The liberal technocratic 
order survived and destroyed the fascist/Nazi alternative, albeit thanks to its wartime 
alliance with the Soviet Union. The "American Century," the term coined by Henry Luce 

Organizes to Win the War: A Handbook on the American War Effort (New York: Harcourt Brace, 


Defending the Free World: The Technocratic War 

of Time magazine, was now contemporaneously and historically correct. ^''^ The war, 
catastrophic for Central and Eastern Europe as well as East Asia, transferred the mantle 
of globalism from the British and French empires to the United States. The technocratic 
world, a civilization defined by machines and machine culture, had established itself as a 
Utopian ideal in Western culture long before the Second World War. Now technocracy 
would be embraced by the two superpowers in their inexorable military and industrial 
competitions. The centralized systems for the production of war technology would serve 
as a prototype for the long-term strategic development of a technocratic world. The 
technocratic would be at the heart of the liberal internationalist fusion of science, 
capitalism,, and engineering. Technocracy had always been at the center of the Marxist 
vision of the future and, under Stalin and his successors, the technocratic concept, albeit 
monstrously flawed in their hands, would project the Soviet script to the end of the Soviet 

Internationally, the redeemer nation would rebuild Europe and East Asia, using its 
surfeit of capital and military power. It would do so with the inspiration of a self- 
consciously Christian nation that the mid-century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr captured 
in his early Cold War work. In technocratic terms, the script would forge political 
economy and strategic security, albeit with varying degrees of efficacy. With its 
dominant military power and its informal empire of civil society, namely, international 
business and the plenitude of American cultural exports, the "Children of Light" would 
establish the postwar institutional framework. As they did so, emergent in the 1950s and 
1960s would be a technocratic international system: corporate, scientific, and militarized, 
and designed to control, expand, innovate, and quantify human and physical systems. In 
the West, it would be American institutions in concert with erstwhile Second World War 
enemies and allies, European and Japanese, that would engage in the vast production of 
Cold War intellectual technologies. In the Soviet bloc, through socialist technocratic 
means, Soviet central planners hoped to match and then exceed the scientific and 
industrial potential of the American state. Yet, the scripts would never cooperate. The 
Americans would conquer the moon, Germany, and Japan, but would lose in Vietnam 
and elsewhere. The Soviets, victorious in the war at an impossible cost, would ultimately 
lose all. The spoils of the war would last only a generation or two. Then the political, 
economic, and technocratic dimensions of power would settle the argument that the 
Second World War had begun. 

Warren Kimball, "The Atlantic Charter: 'With All Deliberate Speed, ' " in Douglas Brinkley 
and David R. Facey-Crowther, eds.. The Atlantic Charter (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994), 
84-114; Michael C. Adams, The Best War Ever: America and World War II (Baltimore: Johns 
Hopkins University Press, 1994), 1-19; Perret, Days of Sadness, Years of Triumph, 410^3; 
Theodore A. Wilson, The First Summit: Roosevelt and Churchill at Placentia Bay, 1941 (Boston: 
Houghton Mifflin, 1969), 149-75. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

The Metascript: The "Struggle for Power and Peace" 

The "struggle for power and peace" was the subtitle of Hans Morgenthau's classic 
realist tome on international politics. Politics among Nations. It was written during the 
Second World War, while the author, a young scholar, taught at various American 
universities, most notably the University of Chicago. Published in 1948, the work 
encapsulated a European scholar's worldview of international relations during and 
immediately after the conflict. Indeed, its argument, summarized in its title and subtitle, 
suggests the script for the international system since its modern birth in the seventeenth 
century. According to Morgenthau, political power on all levels of human association, 
including international relations, was "a psychological relationship between those who 
exercise it and those over whom it is exercised."'''** Psychological power, then, was 
coterminous with political power. To a world audience of the 1930s and 1940s, the 
speeches of Adolf Hitler exemplified this equation very starkly. It was almost as if the 
power of the Third Reich exuded from the breath of the Fiihrer. In a matter of less than a 
decade, the psychological power of Hitler became the political and strategic power of 
German blitzkriegs and wolf packs. Through shortwave radio, the voice of the dictator 
carried the palpable strength of fascism everywhere in the world. 

Ultimately, power, defined by psychological or political constructs, had its material 
basis in military capabilities. The goal of all forms of imperialism, whether on the right or 
the left of the political spectrum, was the projection of political control. Yet, historically, 
the essential source of that power was not political, but was determined by military force. 
Whether the objectives of a state were economic or territorial expansion or cultural 
hegemony, military force was "the most important material factor in the political power 
of a nation. "''" Echoing the views of an entire generation of historians and social 
scientists who had seen two world wars in their lifetimes, Morgenthau viewed conflict in 
universal, even biological terms: 

It cannot be denied that throughout historic time, regardless of social, 
economic, and political conditions, states have met each other in contests 
for power. Even though anthropologists have shown that certain primitive 
peoples seem to be free from the desire for power, nobody has yet shown 
how their state of mind and the conditions under which they live can be 
recreated on a worldwide scale so as to eliminate the struggle for power 
from the international scene. It would be useless and even self-destructive 
to free one or the other of the peoples of the earth from the desire for 
power while leaving it extant in others. If the desire for power cannot be 

^^^Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics among Nations; The Struggle for Power and Peace (New York: 
Knopf, 1948), 14. 
3*' Ibid., 15 


Defending the Free World: The Technocratic War 

abolished everywhere in the world, those who might be cured would simply 
fall victims to the power of others.' 

The metascript for the Second World War was indeed a struggle for power on an 
almost unimaginable scale. Global war required communication and transportation 
systems for military operations that spanned the circumference of the earth. The Allies 
fulfilled the promise of the technological revolutions of the industrial age. Around the 
world, Anglo-American military planning coordinated campaigns of air, naval, and land 
forces. Simultaneously, the Soviet and German armies were engaged in the greatest land 
war in history, stretching the breadth of the Russian and Ukrainian plains. It was a wholly 
massive, global military conflict that contested control over most of the earth's surface. 
More so than any other war, including both its predecessor, "the war to end all wars," and 
its successor, the Cold War, the Second World War was, as Churchill spoke on the first 
day of war, a struggle, starkly, for the destiny of human civilization. Historians may 
question the global intentions of Adolf Hitler and his allies. Hitler's original objectives 
may be interpreted as not global but only continental in scope. Indeed, in the case of the 
Japanese, most sources agree that the leaders did not believe they could win a war against 
the United States."' 

However, the metascripts for civilizations transcend all individuals and nation-states. 
They are grand collective narratives that move over centuries and millennia, connecting 
historical cultures, technologies, and physical geography. The metascript for the West 
and for the international system in the modern period was and remains a complex 
communication system linking many separate types of scripts, at different levels of 
society, in processes largely hidden from contemporary observation. During the Second 
World War, the agents for the script had great historical prominence. Political and 
military leaders such as Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt, De Gaulle, Hirohito, Goring, 
Rommel, Patton, and Eisenhower linked national scripts in various forms of political 
dramaturgy. In its totality, the war's metascript had consequences of historical and 
worldwide importance."' 

'''Ibid., 17. 

Winston Churchill, "Blood, Toil, Sweat and Tears, " remarks in House of Commons, May 13, 
1940, in Robert Rohes James, ed., Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897-1963, 6 
vols. (New York: Chelsea House, 1974), 6:6218-20. Regarding Hitler's war aims, it has been 
suggested that Hitler wanted to share the world with the British Empire, which he admired. See 
Keegan, The Second World War, 128. Kershaw has emphasized Hitler's stated plans for eastern 
expansion and the creation of a greater Aryan homeland incorporating Slavic Europe. See 
Kershaw, Nemesis, 517. In contrast, William Shirer sees Hitter's ravings in Mein Kampf /or 
German domination of the world as a proper discernment of German history: "Nazism and the 
Third Reich, in fact, were but a logical continuation of German history" (Shirer, Rise and Fall of 
the Third Reich, 90). See also Herbert P. Bix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan (New 
York: HarperCollins, 2000), 439; Iriye, Power and Culture, 88-97. 

' The metascript is something that conservative realists and world systems theorists can agree 
upon. The realist concept is more literary and historical, with the narrative clearly embedded in the 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Like that of the First World War, the metascript for the Second tested the cohesion 
and organization of the great powers. It drew upon the depths of human resources and 
political will among all the combatants, because the war was about national survival just 
as much as about global hegemony. Its dramaturgy, tragic and brutal, brought the 
narratives of the combatants into an epic struggle for the ideological and material control 
of global civilization.''^'' Indeed, the whole concept of world power, as understood in the 
West by Great Britain in the nineteenth century and earlier by Spain and France in the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, was changing rapidly. It changed even as Hitler 
came to conquer most of Europe, while the British Commonwealth and the Soviet Union 
fought desperately to survive his onslaught. Before and after the war, the concept of 
empire was under assault from native movements throughout the colonial world. The 
metascript drove industrialization, secularization, and the rise of Western-educated elites 
in the colonial regions. With the destruction of colonial authorities by the Axis, the whole 
idea of imperialism, as understood by Europeans, became a hopeless anachronism."* The 
modernization process of the twentieth century was working feverishly to produce new 
forms of technological modernity. The Europeans were bringing international commerce, 
including commercial aircraft, ocean liners, merchant ships, railroads, and telegraphic, 
radio, and telephony communications. Newspapers, journals, and scientific and literary 
books, as well as university education for native elites, were being brought to the far 
reaches of the British and French empires. The inclusion of the colonies in the war 
against the Axis powers accelerated the changes already begun. Ultimately, the huge cost 
in lives and money forced the issues of dependency and cost of empire onto the table of 
the war's victors. With the birth of the United Nations under the anti-imperial ideology of 
the Roosevelt administration, colonialism would be seen as temporary and finite."* 

"personality" of the country. See Morgenthau, Politics among Nations, 1-15; Kissinger, 
Diplomacy, 137-67. World systems theorists, in contrast, view a world design or script as a 
sociological phenomenon reflecting the laws of social development. See Wallerstein, The Modem 
World-System, 1-11. The political anthropology of culture is discussed in Geertz, Local 
Knowledge, Negara, and "Ideology as a Cultural System, " in Interpretation of Cultures, 193-233; 
Raymond Williams, The Sociology of Culture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 87— 

^^^Harold J. Laski, The Strategy of Freedom: An Open Letter to American Youth (New York: 
Harper & Brothers, 1941); James Reston, Prelude to Victory (New York: Pocket Books, 1942). 

' Roy Dougleas, World Crisis and British Imperial Decline (New York: St. Martin's Press, 
1986), 124-38; P. J. Cain and A. G. Hopkins, British Imperialism: Crisis and Deconstruction, 
1914-1990 (New York: Longman, 1993); Max Beloff, Dream of Commonwealth, 1921-1942 
(Houndmills, MD: Macmillan, 1989); Hoopes and Brinkley, FDR and the Creation of the U.N., 
118-20; Louis Emmerij, Richard Jolly, and Thomas G. Weiss, Ahead of the Curve? U.N. Ideas and 
Global Challenges (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001), 16^2. 

' At the U.N. 's founding, British resistance dulled the anticolonial objectives of American and 
Soviet delegations for the U.N. charter. Nonetheless, the end of colonialism was well in sight by 
1945. Robert C. Hilderbrand, Dumbarton Oaks: The Origins of the United Nations and the Search 


Defending the Free World: The Technocratic War 

In Western Europe and North America, the Second World War became a siren call to 
the defense of the liberal world order. Liberalism, which Americans such as President 
Harry Truman simply called "freedom," would be fought for with the combined 
resources of industrialized societies determined to survive a war that promised its losers 
only unconditional surrender. There seemed to be an inherent contradiction between the 
way the war was fought and the concept of democratic liberalism as the generally 
accepted paradigm for liberty. Total war was sweeping across the Pacific, Asia, the 
Middle East, and Europe as it brought the issues of liberty face to face with annihilation. 
If the Germans attempted to destroy Great Britain, the British were equally determined to 
do the same to Germany. Whatever power had to be harnessed, either side was willing to 
do it, if possible. So, Winston Churchill had no qualms about unleashing firebombs on 
German cities, nor were Americans in any way conflicted over the napalm incineration of 
Tokyo or the nuclear bombings of Japan. The atrocities of the Axis powers were far 
beyond the pale of wartime killings. A fundamental principle of total war is simple to 
understand. That is, absolute war is fought with all available means to achieve a durable 
political objective. Whether historians look at the courage of individual soldiers or the 
huge weapons systems of continental-size armies, the forces of total war are obedient to 
the principles of war, most notably those defined by the military theorist Clausewitz. In 
the end, when Berlin fell to the Soviet army in May 1945 and the Japanese surrendered 
on the American battleship Missouri in September of that year, the immediacy of Allied 
presence on the ground settled all outstanding issues with their adversaries. ^^"^ 

The metascript assigned national leaders such as Roosevelt and Churchill, as well as 
Hitler and Stalin and many others, to serve as oracles, receptors, and interpreters of the 
world war. The speeches and statements of the leaders rang with the truths of the 
essential objectives that defined the cultural scripts of nation-states. The agency of the 
wartime leaders defined the scripts for their nations in an hour of supreme crisis. Hitler 
defined Germany's destiny, which was Armageddon. Stalin served the destiny of the 
Soviet Union, which was to rise to superpower status but with the enormous suffering of 
the Second World War and the totalitarianism of Stalin's police state. For Churchill, the 
script was ultimate British victory but at a price. For the French, it was nearly the same. 
General Charles De Gaulle, the leader of the Free French, defined French honor and 
nationhood with his call to arms against the Nazi occupier. The script he carried into exile 
restored French nationality at the defeat of German arms on French soil in 1944. It was 
not the only script for France, but it was the one that emerged in the narrative of the war 

for Postwar Security (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990), 170-76; Evan 
Luard, A History of the United Nations, 2 vols. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1982-1989). 

^ Roy Jenkins, Churchill: A Biography (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2001), 777-78; 
Clive Ponting, Churchill (London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1994); Edwin P. Hoyt, Inferno: The 
Firebombing of Japan, March 9-August 15, 1945 (Lanham, MD: Madison Books, 2000); Michael 
S. Sherry, The Rise of American Air Power: The Creation of Armageddon (New Haven, CT: Yale 
University Press, 1987), 256-356. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

as Allied forces, forged into a massive military machine, defeated the Germans and 
brought De Gaulle to power. ^'^ 

Soon after, it was De Gaulle's agency that compelled the United States and Great 
Britain to enable France to recover the international position it enjoyed prior to its 
ignominious defeat in 1940. To the extent that French national revival restored a 
semblance of order to the postwar colonial world and established France once more as an 
economic and military power in a noncommunist Europe, it fit into the larger script of the 
Western Alliance. The metascript wanted to preserve the liberal technocratic order. 
Through the Grand Alliance, it forced the destruction of fascism. The new world would 
adopt yet another metascript — that of a bipolar Cold War. However, that narrative was 
not preordained by the outcome of the Second World War. Rather, the Western 
metascript had remained adaptive over many centuries. International wars of all kinds 
require the creation of metascripts. Nation-states, like individuals, do not engage in 
fateful acts without a predetermined schema or a script, a probable path or behavior. 

During the Second World War the Western metascript took the concept of power and 
converted it into the concrete forms that we now remember. Global power is relative to 
historical time and place. It has always been a multidimensional concept. To paraphrase 
Hans Morgenthau, national power is expressed in military, political, social, and cultural 
spheres of influence. Winning a global war required the same attributes as winning any 
lesser conflict. Although the presumption of most military theorists is that military power 
is well determined by technological means, that superiority cannot guarantee victory. In 
the last analysis, even in the age of technocratic combat, virtually all wars of any size are 
reduced to questions of comparative political will. In the conflagration that killed tens of 
millions, it was the Allies who mustered not only more resources, through determined 
organization and mass mobilization, but also the indomitable will to defeat Nazi and 
Japanese totalitarianism. In the end, as we all know, the winners vanquished the losers 
completely. The losers not only lost but also were forced to reconstruct their societies in 
ways that ended, unambiguously, any chance of return to the fascist regimes that initiated 
the global war. '** 

For the second time in half a century, the struggle for power reordered Europe and the 
international system. The conflict in effect "solved" the German question in Europe and 
the Japanese question in Asia. It also ended the practical continuation of a Eurocentric 
world. Great Britain and France and the lesser empires of the Netherlands and Belgium 

A. W. DePorte, De Gaulle's Foreign Policy, 1944-1946 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard 
University Press, 1968), 16-101; Jean Lacouture, De Gaulle, 2 vols. (London: Collins Harvill, 
1990), 1:491-591; Paul-Marie de La Gorce, De Gaulle (Paris: Perrin, 1999); Brian Crozier, De 
Gaulle (New York: Scribner, 1973), 295-348. 

' Stephen E. Ambrose, Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the 
Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944— May 7, 1945 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 
1998); Sun Tzu, The Art of War (New York: Delacorte Press, 1983); Peter Tsouras, The Great 
Patriotic War: An Illustrated History of Total War: The Soviet Union and Germany, 1941-1945 
(London: Greenhill Books, 1992). 


Defending the Free World: The Technocratic War 

would soon relinquish their roles of hegemony. No longer would the colonial empires of 
Europe maintain the formal white domination of a largely nonwhite world. Instead, lesser 
forms of domination, economic and cultural, would continue. Nonetheless, the reordering 
of global power scripted a new international system. In the immediate future, the 
informal empire of the United States and the vast corporate apparatus of the Soviet Union 
would establish a bipolar international system based upon counterbalanced nuclear 
arsenals. Although the United Nations would establish a new international community 
inclusive of new nation-states, the strategic position of the world revolved around the 
permanent national security regimes in the United States and the Soviet Union and their 
allies. An essential part of the metascript established the postwar technocratic culture of 
military and scientific technologies. The Cold War would involve the development of the 
technocratic power of each nation. 

The metascript challenged twentieth-century liberalism with its antithesis and forced 
its political mobilization. When Harry Truman was given notice that the vast scientific 
effort to build a nuclear bomb had succeeded, he remarked in his diary that though it was 
the most "terrible weapon" ever devised, he was grateful that the Americans had the 
bomb and not the Nazis or the Soviets. "*'' The war had forged institutional and ideological 
forces within society to build the warfare state and the military culture for total war. 
Liberal societies forced the same psychological mobilization as totalitarian ones to 
defend themselves. The political theater of the war was displayed in every form of mid- 
twentieth-century media, from print to radio to Hollywood movies to news films.''" 
Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, icons of the mid-twentieth century, opposed 
the nemesis incarnated in the agency of Adolf Hitler. To do so, they made common cause 
with Stalin, agent of Soviet absolutism and totalitarianism. The political titans of the 
Grand Alliance instructed their publics with the determined rhetoric of total war. They 
informed their audiences that the fate of the world rested with them, and that the Nazi 
onslaught had to be defeated through any and all measures. In large part, the propaganda 
was entirely true. Along the vast military frontiers of the Second World War, tens of 
millions of common people died. They fell as foot soldiers by the millions in the cities, 
forests, and plains of European Russia; they died in Poland, the Balkans, and all over the 
rest of Central and Eastern Europe. Millions died of starvation and mass executions in 
Europe and in Asia. Many hundreds of thousands went down with their merchant or 

^ /. Samuel Walker, Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs 
against Japan (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997), 60-61, 91-94. The best 
revisionist account, by Gar Alperovitz, suggests that Truman's motives were more complex. In 
Alperovitz's interpretation, the bomb was the first demonstrable act of containing Soviet expansion 
after the collapse of the Axis powers. See Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb 
and the Architecture of an American Myth (New York: Knopf 1995), 501-61. 

^''"Thomas Doherty, Projections of War: Hollywood, American Culture, and World War II (New 
York: Columbia University Press, 1999); Robert Fyne, The Hollywood Propaganda of World War 
II (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1994). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

combat ships, or in the thousands of fighters and bombers destroyed in the conflict.'*^' 
The war was fought in the flesh, with blood and the deadly power of mid-twentieth- 
century weapons, and in other ways; especially over the global communications medium 
of radio waves, the conflict was fought with words. In the end, after the wholesale 
destruction of much of Eastern and Central Europe as well as East Asia, the political will 
of the Allies won. Certainly, more resources, manpower, and advanced technological 
weapons systems were essential for victory. Still, the will of the worldwide antifascist 
coalition, itself an artifact of modern communication systems, was an equal or greater 
factor in victory.'" 

The strategic dimensions of the war were orchestrated by massive global logistical 
and operational tasks. The sheer firepower of the Anglo-American naval and air forces 
made the D-day invasion possible; and the enormous five-hundred-division Soviet army 
(mechanized in part with American production), through numbers and enormous fire 
power, would slowly roll back and destroy the German army on its eastern front. Yet, the 
material components of victory were always underlaid by the ideology of human 
freedom. Even the toughest of military commanders must realize the quintessential 
importance of political will. To secure the indomitable will of the people, the leaders of 
the alliance had to exude the essential ideology of the West. The promise of a "free" 
world, implied in the Atlantic Charter signed by him and Churchill on board a British 
warship in 1941, and envisioned by Franklin Roosevelt in his Four Freedoms speech of 
1944, and , was a galvanizing force behind the victory of Allies. '*' 

Once more, the metascript was working out the struggle for power within the 
international system. In Franklin Roosevelt, and in the office of the American president, 
the redeemer nation was given the task of fulfilling its historical script on a global scale. 
Roosevelt, the agent of the American script, sought not only to overcome Nazi Germany 
and imperial Japan, but to institutionalize the liberal technocratic order worldwide. At 
near mid-century, encapsulated within American ideology was a well-developed 
scientific-capitalist and democratic ethos; in the depths of total war and mass 
mobilization throughout domestic society, American internationalism became a forceful 
global organizing system. The Western metascript, derived from the cultural elements of 
its beginnings in what S. N. Eisenstadt called the "Axial civilizations" of near antiquity 
(500 B.C. to A.D. 100), shaped the genesis of the reformation and the founding of the 
North American Protestant culture that became the United States. The redeemer nation 
opposed the Third Reich as it challenged the West, and the Japanese empire in Asia as it 
did the same, because of what its name implies. To redeem the West, it had to defeat its 
deadly counternarratives: fascism. National Socialism, imperialism, and Marxism- 

^''' Weinberg, A World at Arms, 894-920; Davies, Europe, 998-1058, 1329. 
'Staler, Allies and Adversaries, 123-45; Robin Edmonds, The Big Three: Churchill, 
Roosevelt, and Stalin in Concord and Conflict (New York: Norton, 1991). 

Theodore A. Wilson, "The First Summit: FDR and the Riddle of Personal Diplomacy," in 
Wilson, The First Summit, 1-31; Douglas Brinkley and David R. Facey-Crowther, eds.. The 
Atlantic Charter (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994), 226-27. 


Defending the Free World: The Technocratic War 

Leninism. American political will mobilized quickly and deeply, building the vast 
military-industrial complex it needed to harness every available military and scientific 
means for winning the war.^®"* 

National Security State 

While the cultural, psychological, and epistemological foundations of world war were 
essential to its genesis, the institutional systems that sustained it were of equal 
importance. The institutions that had shaped the Great War were expanded in size and 
complexity with the Second World War. The First World War had established a national 
security state in terms of the institutional and intellectual concepts that defined national 
defense in 1917-1918. It was a limited concept because no permanent institutional 
systems or large body of technocratic knowledge was envisioned by American statecraft. 
Rather, national and global security on the scale of that of later periods in U.S. 
international history was simply not constructed before, during, or after the Great War.^^' 
Overall, most historians of the American military-industrial complex, have referenced the 
"national security state" during the Cold War. Indeed, much has been and will be written 
about the machinations of giant bureaucracies that created the American Cold War. Yet, 
before the postwar institution building occurred, the national security state was a coherent 
concept during the Second World War. Technocratic epistemologies are necessarily 
related to the operations of technocratic institutions. In most ways, institutions and 
knowledge systems, in the context of mid- and late twentieth-century U.S history, were 
coterminous. This meant that nuclear technology, as a body of expert knowledge, was 
inextricably a product of the scientific and engineering institutions that developed this 
rarefied form of intellectual thought.'" Human knowledge and institutions are inherently 
codependent in the technocratic context of advanced industrialized nations. The Second 
World War built large bodies of knowledge and institutions whose legacies are found in 
the profound developments of the postwar period. 

Throughout the twentieth century, institutional systems were linked inextricably and 
causally with epistemological systems. The great power script required the 
codevelopment of the organizations and ideas that enabled the projection of power upon 
the international community. Technocratic war requires technocratic states capable of 

^*''5. A'. Eisenstadt, ed., The Origins and Diversity of Axial Age Civilizations (Albany: State 
University of New York Press, 1986). 

^Cuff, War Industries Board, 148, 190; Paul A. C. Koistinen, Planning War, Pursuing Peace: 
The Political Economy of American Warfare, 1920-1939 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 
1998), 211-304. 

Lillian Huddleston, Critical Assembly: A Technical History of Los Alamos during the 
Oppenheimer Years, 1943-1945 (Nevf York: Cambridge University Press, 1993); Ronald L. 
Kathren, Jerry B. Gough, and Gary T. Benefiel, eds., The Plutonium Story: The Journals of 
Professor Glenn T. Seaborg, 1939-1946 (Columbus, OH: Battelle Press, 1994); James G 
Hershberg, James B. Conant: Harvard to Hiroshima and the Making of the Nuclear Age (New 
York: Knopf 1993), 112-234. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

sustaining the managerial systems for military conflict. The essential nature of the 
Second World War compelled the expansion and professionalization not only of logistics, 
but also of the entire war planning process. In all the major combatant nations, 
departments of civilian and military institutions were related to the production of 
technocratic knowledge and the strategic context of the global war. Huge research 
projects on weapons systems were undertaken by all the powers. In addition to 
engineering work on improving conventional weapons systems, chemical, biological, and 
nuclear weapons research was carried out by British, Soviet, German, and Japanese 
scientists and engineers. """' As we have seen with the Manhattan Project, the production 
of weapons systems and the "superweapons" that all sides hoped would turn the tide of 
war involved considerable resources. Weapons themselves, however, were only part of 
the technocratic system for war. In institutional forms, the functional design for 
technocratic war was duplicated by all of the combatant nations. Consistent with the 
organizational principles of machine civilization, bureaucratic rationality imposed itself 
on the belligerents. The Americans, the British, the Soviets, the Germans, and the 
Japanese all had well-developed and fully staffed institutions for the development of war 
strategy, intelligence, diplomacy, propaganda, logistics, and military production. The 
Grand Alliance coordinated not only the vast armies of the three powers, but the 
extensive production systems, intelligence, and technological research for the support of 
international coalition warfare. The national security structures of the respective allies 
were huge and pervasive domestic systems that extended around the world through the 
collaboration between the military commands and diplomatic corps of the respective 

This process of institutionalization became a characteristic of the successor conflict, 
the Cold War, whose origins lie in the unresolved issues and the debris of the Second 

^^^ Roger Ford, Germany's Secret Weapons of World War II (Staplehurst, UK: Spellmount, 
2000); Tom Schachtman, Wizards at War: The Use and Abuse of Science and Technology in World 
War II (New York: Morrow, 2002); David Zimmerman, Top Secret Exchange: The Tizard Mission 
and the Scientific War (Buffalo, NY: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1996), 130-53; Brian 
Johnson, The Secret War (New York: Methuen, 1978); Donald H. Avery, The Science of War: 
Canadian Scientists and Allied Military Technology during the Second World War (Toronto: 
University of Toronto Press, 1998), 41-227; Per F. Dahl, Heavy Water and the Wartime Race for 
Nuclear Energy (Philadelphia: Institute of Physics, 1999); Powers, Heisenberg's War; Henshall, 
The Nuclear Axis; Mark Walker, Nazi Science: Myth, Truth, and the German Atomic Bomb (New 
York: Plenum Press, 1995); Jeremy Bernstein, Hitler's Uranium Club: The Secret Recordings at 
Farm Hall (New York: Copernicus Books, 2001). 

Janos Radvanyi, ed.. Psychological Operations and Political Warfare in Long-Term Strategic 
Planning (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1990); Paul Myron Anthony, Psychological Warfare 
(Washington, DC: Infantry Journal Press, 1948); Daniel Lerner, Psychological Warfare against 
Nazi Germany: The Sykewar Campaign, D-Day to VE-Day (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1949), 
164—284; Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy; Hans-Erich Volkmann, "The National Socialist Economy 
in Preparation for War, " in Research Institute for Military History, Germany in the Second World 
War, 1:160-372. 


Defending the Free World: The Technocratic War 

World War. Within just a few years of the fall of Hitler's Berlin bunker and the 
destruction of the Japanese empire, a new militarized peace had descended upon the 
world. The huge direction of resources toward the war had created an entirely new 
generation of weapons, as well as skilled pools of industrial labor. The institutions that 
emerged seemingly overnight during the war would be reconstituted after the war 
settlement period. as a result of the new international crisis of American-Soviet relations. 
In the end, the national security state would define American foreign relations like no 
other concept until it reached its own denouement during the Vietnam conflict. 

War Production 

In the hydrocarbon and steel age of the Second World War, military power was 
related to resources and industrial systems. Resources were very scarce for the Axis 
powers, impeding their ability to sustain offensive operations. In contrast, the vast 
resources of the British Commonwealth, the Soviet Union, and the United States supplied 
enormous advantages. The effective conversion of civilian industries to military mass 
production allowed the Grand Alliance to create the most mechanized, mobile, and 
heavily defended armed forces in history. The German, Japanese, and Italian war 
industries were not inadequate. Rather, as the war progressed, military production 
increased among the Axis countries, peaking quite late in 1944.^''^ This took place despite 
the massive attacks by Allied bombers. Through desperate measures, and in Germany this 
meant the use of eight million slave laborers, the Axis powers sustained and increased 
their military production in spite of daily bombing attacks and the loss of reliable sources 
of raw materials. Only in the last year of the war, when industrial areas in Germany were 
on the brink of occupation, was production disrupted in a material way. In Japan, the 
successful destruction of its supply lines down the western Pacific left the country on the 
brink of starvation and its factories useless. The firebombing of Japanese cities did not 
end the Japanese war industry, but the loss of all essential raw materials from outside 
sources destroyed the ability of the Japanese to replace what it was losing on the 

The Soviet Union fared better than the Axis countries, under the most desperate 
circumstances. Despite the occupation of two-thirds of European Russia by the 
Wehrmacht, the Russians were able to transport most of their heavy industry east to the 
Ural Mountains. The day the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, Stalin ordered the 

Mark Harrison, Accounting for War: Soviet Production, Employment and the Defence 
Burden, 1940-1945 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 58-127: Sir Alec Cairncross, 
Planning in Wartime: Aircraft Production in Britain, Germany and the USA (Basingstoke, UK: 
Macmillan, 1991): Edward R. Zilbert, Albert Speer and the Nazi Ministry of Arms: Economic 
Institutions and Industrial Production in the German War Economy (London: Associated University 
Presses, 1981): Mark Harrison, ed.. The Economics of World War II: Six Great Powers in 
International Comparison (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 152, 229. 

^^'' Jerome B. Cohen, Japan's Economy in War and Reconstruction (New York: Routledge, 
2000), 107-9. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

dismantling of fifteen hundred armament factories, which would be transported east to 
the Urals and beyond. Responding to the national emergency, the Soviets were able to 
save most of the factories that lay in the path of the Nazis. With generous aid from the 
United States and Great Britain, Soviet war production increased dramatically throughout 
the war, by far outdistancing that of Germany. Late into the war, thoroughly mechanized 
Soviet armored divisions attacked and destroyed German divisions that still relied on 
animal power for their supply lines and moving heavy artillery. The statistics for mass 
production are revealing. In all categories. Allied war production exceeded Axis output 
by factors of several fold. U.S. war production included three hundred thousand aircraft, 
more than one hundred aircraft carriers, more than a million military vehicles, and 
hundreds of thousands of tanks and field artillery pieces. American production not only 
supported a combined military strength that peaked at twelve million troops, but was also 
a substantial contributor to the combined strengths of all other Allied forces, including 
the British Commonwealth and the Soviet Union. The American strengths in overall 
factors of production, as well as the most highly developed use of mass production 
technologies in manufacturing, supported the other American strengths in diplomatic, 
military, and scientific fields. In the end, the Axis powers were outgunned and 
outmanned by the Grand Alliance. Without truly brilliant strategy and political 
mobilization, the Axis powers were doomed by the technocratic means and political 
mobilization of the U.S. -Soviet-British alliance.''^' 

War Epistemologies 

The war epistemologies were organized into cohesive elements of technological 
power. Technocratic epistemologies transcend weapons and military staff. They are 
integral and transcendent aspects of technologically based war. The state was challenged 
and ultimately transformed by the scientific and industrial environment of modern 
warfare. To exploit that environment, the epistemological systems of the state, broadly 
defined, were mobilized on all sides to produce the weapons systems and organizational 
and tactical doctrines that were critical to operational success on the battlefield. The 
essential nature of technocratic warfare did not change from the First World War. The 
same principles applied in 1939 through 1945 as from 1914 to 1918. The only difference 
had to do with the speed, quantity, and complexity of what was technocratic. Total war 
required the quantification and control of military forces as operational, strategic, 
political, and economic phenomena. Fundamentally, the concerns of technocratic warfare 
are constant in time and place. By definition, they involve the development of the 
effective means and organization to project military force. 

Modern warfare, by virtue of its scope and power, requires complex systems of 
management for military production and deployment and political support of military 
forces. The political aspects of war are related to the management of the mass media, the 

^'''Harrison, Accounting for War, 128-54; Harrison, The Economics of World War II, 1-42, 
81-121; Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy, 212-68. 


Defending the Free World: The Technocratic War 

effective mobilization of elite and mass public opinion, and the whole range of public and 
high-level strategic diplomacy related to the operational aspects of the conflict. 
Technocratic epistemologies related to modern war bear upon the organizational and 
technological systems required by the state to sustain war."*^^ While the importance of the 
political and tactical aspects of war is equal to or greater than that of military technology 
per se, the nation-state script requires the mass mobilization of societal technological 
resources for military applications. Earlier modern wars had produced new types of 
warships, rifles, cannons, and siege guns. The First World War had produced tanks, 
combat planes, chemical weapons, submarines, and more deadly artillery. During the 
Second World War, a virtual revolution in weapons systems occurred, including long- 
range bombers, ballistic missiles, massive battle tanks, completely mechanized armored 
divisions, and, finally, the development of the ultimate weapon — quintessential to war as 
a twentieth-century scientific phenomenon — the atomic bomb.'" 

The technocratic epistemologies for the Second World War were designed to achieve 
military advantage through any means possible. In a global war with no constraints, the 
objective of all combatants was to win, but to do so with the least harm possible to their 
nations. Scientific and technical knowledge from all fields became strategic assets in the 
development of military technologies. The range of epistemologies connected to this 
development process was indeed very comprehensive. The list included technological 
developments in air, sea, and land weapons, as well as military intelligence, ballistic 
science, the aforementioned nuclear physics of fission weapons, and the whole range of 
social science and legal knowledge connected to the management of the war economy. 
Also included on this list were the other epistemological systems underlying the 
propaganda campaigns and the long-range strategic planning for the postwar world, 
including legal, economic, and military systems. The war mobilized systems of 
technocratic knowledge from the physical and natural sciences to the "soft" areas of 
policy development and international law. Both military and civilian sectors of the 
economy developed technology to produce weapons systems, deploy them, and assess 
their effectiveness. Each of the combatant nations had technocratic scripts that affected 
knowledge systems for mobilization, mechanization, assessment, and control. 

In every respect, each of the national scripts for the major combatants was informed 
by significant characteristics of technocratic organization and ideology. All of the Axis 
powers and the Allies understood that the war was a competition between not only 
cultures but also the military, scientific, and industrial means that could be brought to 
bear upon the political dimensions of the conflict. The Nazi assault on British sea 

^ Elizabeth Kier, Imagining War: French and British Military Doctrine between the Wars 
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997); Barry Posen, The Sources of Military Doctrine: 
France, Britain, and Germany between the World Wars (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 
1984): Stoler, Allies and Adversaries, 23-102. 

^'^Moy, War Machines, 68-97: Kenneth Macksey, Technology in War: The Impact of Science 
on Weapon Development and Modern Battle (New York: Prentice Hall, 1986), 109-74: William B. 
Breuer, The Secret Weapons of WWII (New York: Wiley, 2000). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

commerce, essential to the survival of Britain, was a military and scientific problem. The 
German submarine navy, under Admiral Donitz, was given the military and technical 
problem of destroying Britain's merchant marine fleet. For the British, the same context 
applied: how to develop intelligence, air, and naval antisubmarine capabilities to survive 
the assault. Over several years of sea warfare, the battle for sea supremacy went back and 
forth. After losing millions of tons of cargo vessels, the Allies succeeded in suppressing 
the German submarine offensive in the North Atlantic. Through industrial and scientific 
mobilization, American and British Empire forces developed the weapons systems, 
namely, encryption intelligence, microwave radar, sonar, long-range bombers, destroyers, 
and carrier escorts, to counter the fast and coordinated attacks by long-range, deep-diving 
German submarines."'''* 

As noted, the technological and industrial competition of the war mobilized almost all 
the resources of the combatants. American industry was organized by the national 
government, whose wartime agencies, under the War Resources Board and the Office of 
Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), effectively developed the vast military 
technologies that the country deployed. All of the major combatant powers involved 
themselves in intense breakneck programs for the development of superweapons to use 
against their enemies. Both the Allies and the Axis nations pursued nuclear, chemical, 
and biological weapons programs. The operational use of such weapons of mass 
destruction was limited to the U.S. deployment of the atomic bomb against Hiroshima 
and Nagasaki in August 1945. The Germans and Japanese did not use their chemical and 
biological weapons for fear of retaliation (the Japanese did use biological weapons on 
Chinese civilians, but these were for "testing" purposes). The technological developments 
during the Second World War were enormous. The combined innovations by both sides 
would provide the foundations for the postindustrial technologies of solid-state digital 
computers, jet aircraft, space satellites and ballistic missile systems, nuclear medicine, 
and machine intelligence.'" 

^ David Syrett, The Defeat of the German U-boats: The Battle of the Atlantic (Columbia: 
University of South Carolina Press, 1994); David Alvarez, Secret Messages: Codebreaking and 
American Diplomacy, 1930-1945 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000); David Syrett, ed. 
The Battle of the Atlantic and Signals Intelligence: U-boat Situations and Trends, 1941-1945 
(Brookfield, VT: Aldershot, 1998); Leo Marks, Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker's War, 
1941-1945 (New York: Free Press, 1998); Hugh Sebag-Montefwre, The Enigma: The Battle for 
the Code (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2000); David E. Fisher, A Race on the Edge of Time: 
Radar — the Decisive Weapon of World War II (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1988); Louis Brown, 
Technical and Military Imperatives: A Radar History of World War II (Philadelphia: Institute of 
Physics, 1999). 

'^OSRD, Advances in Military Medicine, Made by American Investigators, 2 vols. (Boston: 
Little, Brown, 1948); Vannevar Bush, Science: The Endless Frontier (Washington, DC: GPO, 
1945); Guy Hartcup, The Effect of Science on the Second World War (New York: St. Martin's 
Press, 2000); Scott McCartney, ENIAC: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First 
Computer (New York: Walker, 1999). 


Defending the Free World: The Technocratic War 

The Manhattan Project 

The quintessential technocratic project of the Second World War was the complex 
achievement of a nuclear fission device by the top-secret Manhattan Project. In the 
immediate postwar period, the atomic bomb would transform the world like no other 
invention. In real terms, the nuclear weapon created the Cold War. Its existence required 
the construction of the postwar national security system and all the attendant institutional 
and epistemological changes. The project involved the complex coordination of military 
and civilian institutions to use the scientific knowledge gained by a generation of eminent 
European physicists. The program was inspired by the well-founded fear of these 
physicists, then living principally in the United States and Great Britain, that recent 
breakthroughs in atomic-level physics had provided the Germans with the theoretical 
knowledge to develop an atomic superweapon. Such a device, it was surmised correctly, 
would release fantastic amounts of energy — enough power to destroy cities and turn the 
war radically against those who did not have it. Prior to the start of the war in Europe, a 
small group of refugee physicists familiar with recent innovative research on 
radioactivity and nuclear fission impressed their views on the United States government, 
resulting in the start of a nuclear research program. The prestige and influence of Albert 
Einstein, who wrote to the president in August 1939, was enough to convince Franklin 
Roosevelt that the United States needed to build its own weapon before Hitler had a 
chance to build his."''*' 

The program was the largest and most costly scientific research project in history. 
Under the supervision of the OSRD and the Department of the Army, the Manhattan 
Project involved thousands of physicists, chemists, engineers, and technicians working 
feverishly over a period of five years. Production facilities operated by government, 
corporate, and academic laboratories created the many state-of-the-art industrial 
processes that were prerequisite to the final product. New physics, chemistry, and 
engineering knowledge was generated through the enormous expenditure of capital and 
human resources. The achievement of the nuclear weapon was only possible due to the 
deep reservoir of technical and organizational talents brought together by the national war 
emergency. Nearly the entire physics profession in the United States was dedicated to the 
Manhattan Project. The capital expenditure required, more than one billion dollars, a 
fantastic sum for the 1940s, was possible only because of the historical context of the 
Second World War. In sum, the institutional and epistemological developments 
associated with the project were as important to world history as the creation of the 
superweapon itself. From the wartime weapons development system came not only the 
atomic weapon but also the whole structure of a scientific-industrial state dedicated to the 
expansion of American military power through technological innovation. As a corollary 
to this, the entire expansion of American science and engineering in the postwar period 

^^^William Lanouette, Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, the Man behind the 
Bomb (New York: Maxwell Macmillan International, 1992), 198-210. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

into microelectronics, space exploration, and information processing was germinated by 
the national and Anglo-American collaboration in developing the "A-bomb."''^' 

The war was already won, at least operationally, by the time the first nuclear device 
was tested in July 1945, at the White Sands testing range in the New Mexican desert. 
Nazi Germany lay in ruins, as did most of the cities of imperial Japan, when the Enola 
Gay flew over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. When the mushroom cloud engulfed the 
city, sending huge balls of flames and dust into the atmosphere, a new age in human 
history was born. No longer was war simply a confrontation between belligerent armies 
on a defined battlefield. Now, the nuclear weapon threatened the entire concept of war as 
well as civilization. Ironically, this was not immediately apparent to many observers. Yet, 
the legacy of the first bomb echoed deeply through postwar world history. The A-bomb 
was a weapon beyond the pale in its destructiveness. Built on the revolution in physical 
science that began with relativity, quantum mechanics, and the discoveries of radiation 
and nuclear fission, the weapon was the intellectual product of thousands of scientists and 
engineers. It gave the United States, and ultimately the rest of humankind, a device that 
superseded the explosive power of all existing weapons systems. In doing so, it was an 
invention that made the annihilation of mankind a distinct possibility."* 

In the Manhattan Project, the technocratic epistemologies for both war and peace 
expanded dramatically. In the space of five years, the mere theoretical possibility of a 
superweapon came to be reality. As many hundreds of thousands of survivors from 
Hiroshima and Nagasaki coped with the horrible reality of what had happened to them 
and their communities, a whole new science of nuclear weapons was born. In the first 
fifteen years of the postwar period, thousands of nuclear devices were added to each of 
the superpowers' nuclear arsenals. Nuclear theory became the nuclear bomb, with all the 
vast imperatives this gave to its implementing scientific, military, and industrial 
institutions. For the United States, the nuclear age would provide an organizing principle 
for the militarized technocratic state. The national security state, which had come into its 
own during the war, became a permanent institutional system. Nuclear weapons required 
their own strategic doctrines, engineering designs, and theoretical visions for their further 
evolution and development. In this way, the Manhattan Project became one of the most 
important legacies of the Second World War. The A-bomb, built to order by hundreds of 
cooperating institutions, fulfilled the scientific, industrial, and military scripts for global 
warfare in the technocratic age. Paradoxically, nuclear weapons created a stable postwar 

'^^K. D. Nichols, The Road to Trinity (New York: Morrow, 1987); Richard Rhodes, The 
Making of the Atomic Bomb (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1986); Ferenc Morton Szasz, British 
Scientists and the Manhattan Project: The Los Alamos Years (Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 1992); 
Gunnar Skogmar, Nuclear Triangle: Relations between the United States, Great Britain and France 
in the Atomic Energy Field, 1939-1950 (Copenhagen: Copenhagen Political Studies Press, 1993). 
' Martin Sherwin, A World Destroyed: The Atomic Bomb and the Grand Alliance (New York: 
Knopf, 1975); Lanouette, Genius in the Shadows, 447-64; Helen S. Hawkins, G. Allen Greb, and 
Gertrud Weiss Szilard, eds.. Toward a Livable World: Leo Szilard and the Crusade for Nuclear 
Arms Control (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987). 


Defending the Free World: The Technocratic War 

international system, albeit one dominated by nuclear terror. Once more, the redeemer 
nation came upon a solution that it was unprepared for. Compelled by war to build the 
weapon, it was condemned to deal with the consequences for the rest of the century and 

Postwar Planning 

Remarkably, in the midst of total war, with the full-blown firebombing of 
metropolitan areas, mass executions, death camps, and all manner of atrocities committed 
on all sides, the liberal vision of a postwar world thrived. It did so in the environs of the 
U.S. State Department, the British Foreign Office, and elsewhere in the free world. Even 
the Soviet Union, under the tyranny of Stalin, was an active participant in the rebirth of 
Wilsonian idealism. The neo-Wilsonian world, as envisioned by international lawyers, 
statesmen, and social scientists, was one founded on the same principles as the failed 
League of Nations. A new supranational organization would actively participate in the 
long-range planning of global development. Democratic institutions and the culture of 
liberal internationalism would be promoted in the interests of world peace, along with the 
accepted rights of all nations and individuals to enjoy security, liberty, and economic 
progress. As horrific battles raged in places such as Stalingrad, Leningrad, Guadalcanal, 
Borneo, China, Normandy, the Balkans, Poland, Hungary, and finally Germany and 
Japan themselves, an idealized concept of world order was incorporated into the charter 
of the United Nations.^™ 

The reasons for this paradoxical situation were rather simple. There was a broad 
consensus among political leaderships that the Second World War should not and could 
not be repeated. Once more, the human race had to gather the political will to establish an 
international system that would end major war, not only through the traditional balance of 
power, but through the development of those conditions that would prevent the basis of 
major armed conflicts from occurring again. Once more, the Kantian vision of a perpetual 
peace, based upon free commerce and the universal acceptance of peace as a norm in 
world society, would be the paradigm for the postwar settlement. In this way, the 
planning for the United Nations was quite similar to the military projects sponsored by 
the great powers, notably the Manhattan Project. The similarity was not in intention but 
in organization and process. Both war and peace, in the technocratic context of the 
Second World War, required the detailed work of technocrats. As discussed, military 
technocrats, armed with epistemologies of war, namely, weapons systems and strategic 
plans, were involved in one aspect of the war settlement. At the same time, civilian 
analysts and lawyers, trained in various aspects of economic and political science, were 
involved in the drafting of the founding documents for the International Bank for 
Reconstruction and Development, the International Monetary Fund, and other U.N. 
agencies. Planners were also hard at work at the State Department and elsewhere on the 

^^^Luard, A History of the United Nations, 17-90; Hoopes and Brinkley, FDR and the Creation 
of the U.N., 133-58; Hilderbrand, Dumbarton Oaks, 108-21. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

reconstruction of both the war-ravaged alUed countries of Europe and Asia, and the 
defeated enemy powers. ''^'^ 

The script for a revised world order, envisioned by both Franklin and Eleanor 
Roosevelt, was of an international society that realized the aspirations of all colonial and 
noncolonial peoples for political freedom and economic development. The 
externalization of the New Deal, as Warren Kimball noted in his study of Roosevelt's 
decision-making, was the quintessential concept behind Roosevelt's plan for the end of 
the war.^*' It would fulfill the goals and the idealized concept of American life that had 
inspired him through his entire life. A world order dedicated to human rights, freedom, 
economic justice, and prosperity would be an international environment that would be 
morally acceptable and practically safe for American liberalism. The United Nations was 
conceived as Roosevelt's principal vehicle of the new American world order. It was 
perfectly consistent with the spirit and the script of the redeemer nation, in which the 
highest goals of Western humanism would be met by the institutional order of a new 
liberal world body. As the vast apparatus of the national security state orchestrated the 
work of an entire society, including fourteen million in the armed forces, the State 
Department's lawyers drafted preliminary documents for the United Nations. The 
overwhelming preponderance of American power in a postwar world made its national 
vision the blueprint for and the definition of the new body of international politics and 
law. The political economy of the postwar world, the framework for collective security, 
and the practical organization of power outside of the Soviet Union would be a task for 
the redeemer nation. The United Nations, formed in the fire of the second global war of 
the century, would emerge as Roosevelt's postwar legacy. Undoubtedly, he would have 
wished it more luck in organizing a just international system. Instead, the exigencies of 
the war settlement would fall upon the American national security state as it built a 
worldview consonant with the script of the redeemer nation, but also very different from 
Roosevelt's plan.'*' 

The Technocratic War Ends 

The end of the war meant the cessation of wholesale destruction on both sides. The 
Allies had returned the Axis treatment of Allied civilian populations in kind. Hundreds of 
thousands of German and Japanese civilians lost their lives in the firebombing of cities 
carried out by American forces. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed 

Brett D. Schaefer, The Bretton Woods Institutions: History and Reform Proposals 
(Washington, DC: Heritage Foundation, 2000); Robert W. Oliver, George Woods and the World 
Bank (Boulder, CO: Rienner, 1995); Jochen Kraske, Bankers with a Mission: The Presidents of the 
World Bank, 1946-91 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 7-73; Catherine Gwin, "U.S. 
Relations with the World Bank, 1945-1992, " in Devesh Kapur, ed.. The World Bank: Its First Half 
Century, 2 vols. (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1997), 2:195—274, and Devesh Kapur, 
"The Bank for Reconstruction, 1944^8," in ibid., 1:57-84. 
^^' Kimball, The Juggler, 187-88. 
' Acheson, Present at the Creation, 254-63; Hogan, A Cross of Iron, 1-22. 


Defending the Free World: The Technocratic War 

more civilians than any bombing attack in history, save the possible exception of the 
March 1945 firebombing of Tokyo. The Axis regimes were destroyed in their totality. 
Hitler committed suicide in his bunker rather than face capture and trial. In the end, his 
script had run its course perfectly. He had triumphed in conquering lebensraum and 
effecting the near annihilation of the Jews and other inferior races. Then, in the face of 
the destruction of the German army and the Third Reich, he had destroyed himself. A 
martyr to his own evil creation. National Socialism, he ordered his body and that of his 
mistress, Eva Braun, and her five children immolated before their capture by the 
Russians. In doing so. Hitler ensured that his status as a martyr to Nazism and his crude 
genocidal theory of a master race would survive in the idolatry of extreme right-wing 
nationalists and white supremacists for generations to come.^^^ 

Japanese and Italian fascists met similar fates. Mussolini's script ended with his death 
and public dismemberment. His dreams of a new Roman Empire revealed the deluded 
nature of his leadership. The Italians, who were never very good at modern warfare, lost 
the war in miserable fashion. Only the force of the Third Reich kept the Italian fascists in 
the war until the end. On the other side of the world, the Japanese military junta had 
thought of letting the Japanese nation die in the defense of the empire, as American 
bombers, carriers, and nuclear weapons converged on the homeland. Yet, the revenge of 
the redeemer nation was so severe, so massive and merciless, that the Japanese emperor 
intervened to force his country's surrender. Right-wing military officers committed ritual 
suicide after peace terms were announced. The survival of the Japanese and, most 
importantly, the survival of the imperial system overrode the intentions of the militarists 
to have the nation die as samurai warriors.'*^ 

The essential element in the defeat of the Nazis was the script of the Grand Alliance. 
National institutions mobilized under the crisis of international war and worked 
cooperatively across international boundaries to defeat an enemy of enormous power and 
ruthlessness. The effective coordination of the three powers was a precondition for the 
defeat of Hitler and the Japanese. It was up to Hitler to create the alliance (with his attack 
on the Soviets) and it was up to the Grand Alliance leadership (Roosevelt, Churchill, and 
Stalin) to maintain the critical cooperation to defeat the Nazi and Japanese war machines. 
With the end of the war, the reconstruction of the postwar world became the new focus of 
the Western script. 

The cultural dimension of the war's impact was profound. National cultures, whose 
very existence came into question, recalled the war in epic terms. It was a war that both 

Anton Joachimsthaler, The Last Days of Hitler: The Legends, the Evidence, the Truth 
(London: Arms and Armour Press, 1996); Peter Wyden, The Hitler Virus: The Insidious Legacy of 
Adolf Hitler (New York: Arcade, 2001), 183-264. 

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Fascist Modernities: Italy, 1922-1945 (Berkeley: University of California 
Press, 2001); Yumiko lida. Rethinking Identity in Modem Japan: Nationalism as Aesthetics (New 
York: Routledge, 2002); Kosaku Yoshino, Cultural Nationalism in Contemporary Japan: A 
Sociological Enquiry (New York: Routledge, 1992); John W. Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in 
the Wake of WWII (New York: Norton, 1999). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

destroyed and liberated humankind in the technocratic age of science and industrialism. 
Like the Great War, it reconstituted political, economic, and cultural systems. 
Technological revolution, found in the birth of electromechanical computers, cybernetics, 
transistors, nuclear fission, microwave communications, and aerospace and rocketry, 
would make the war the progenitor not only of the Cold War, but of the post-Cold War 
information culture of the twenty-first century. Yet, the legacy of the war in social terms 
was most often devastating, even if with that destruction there was also triumph. It would 
be the task of entire generations of national cultures to define and explain the war within 
their own cultural context. ^^^ Collective and personal scars from the war's atrocities and 
deprivations served as a historical backdrop to the next period in world history. The 
survivors of the worst forms of destruction, the Nazi death camps and the atomic 
bombings, would recount the destruction brought by the war and the scientific and 
industrial institutions that were fundamental to it. Both the Holocaust and the Trinity 
bomb were artifacts of the technocratic age. The Nazi extermination plan combined the 
cruelty of a warrior culture deeply rooted in ancient European history and the 
organizational practices of an industrialized scientific culture existing squarely in the 
present. In the case of the atomic bomb, the scientific establishment developed the 
weapon, and the U.S. Army, a war-defined technocratic machine, delivered it.'*' 

In the postwar world, a new international society, immersed in technocratic 
architecture, science, and political economy, emerged in cosmopolitan areas on every 
continent. A new electronic culture was built in the decades after the war, magnifying the 
effects of globalism that the war initiated. Post-World War II international society was 
filled with new inventions. There were satellite communications, television and radio 
stations, stereophonic music, and a media culture built more on pictures than on words. 
All of these technical and social innovations were mainly or partly a result of a 
determined process of war-related development. The drive to develop war technologies 
resulted in the huge innovations in aerospace, ballistics, and microwave communications. 
The war seeded the information technology revolution through the invention of 
transistors, cybernetics, and the electronic computer. For better or worse, the nuclear age, 
as noted, was born out of the war; otherwise, no civilian project of such magnitude would 
have been financed. The physical systems for the projection of military power around the 

^Yoshikuni Igarashi, Bodies of Memory: Narratives of War in Postwar Japanese Culture, 
1945-1970 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000); Malcolm Smith, Britain and 1940: 
History, Myth, and Popular Memory (New York: Routledge, 2000); Adam Nossiter, The Algeria 
Hotel: France, Memory, and the Second World War (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001); Donald 
Bloxham, Genocide on Trial: War Crimes Trials and the Formation of Holocaust History and 
Memory (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001). 

Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb, 645-48; Michael J. Hogan, ed., 
Hiroshima in History and Memory (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996); Kai Bird and 
Lawrence Lifschultz, Hiroshima's Shadow: Writings on the Denial of History and the Smithsonian 
Controversy (Stony Creek, CT: Pamphleteer's Press, 1998); James J. Orr, The Victim as Hero: 
Ideology of Peace and National Identity in Postwar Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 


Defending the Free World: The Technocratic War 

world resulted in a postwar world of expansive superpowers dominating a bipolar world 
order. Before the war, nuclear weapons, rockets, and electronic information systems were 
all science fiction. By its end, the technocratic planning systems of the great powers had 
to account for a new international system in which the speed and range of weapons 
systems were clearly becoming global. ^^^ 

The war's political legacy was its reconstitution of the international system. The 
European empires that had survived the First World War were weakened fatally by the 
Second. Within twenty years, virtually all of the Western European colonies were granted 
independence. Where once vast regions of Asia and Africa were under the suzerainty of 
relatively small European nations, by the middle period of the Cold War the international 
system boasted nearly two hundred members, many of whom had barely entered the 
modern age in any meaningful sense. The United States, the ultimate victor of both the 
First and Second World Wars, was compelled to protect the integrity of the liberal 
technocratic order. To maintain global order and to fulfill its aspirations and its self- 
defined mission as a redemptive agent, the country financed the unprecedented military 
budgets of the postwar era.^** 

In political, economic, and military terms, the territorial space occupied by the 
postwar American nation-state expanded to global proportions. It was not the immediate 
intention of American planners that the postwar settlement would include a global 
national security state. Yet, the circumstances affecting the European and East Asian war 
settlement suggested the possibility of a communist-dominated Asia and Europe. The 
prospect would result in the institutionalization of an ongoing postwar conflict between 
the Soviet Union and the United States. That process established the Cold War's global 
characteristics; anticommunist elites, ensured of American support, dominated 
authoritarian regimes from Iran to the Philippines to Guatemala to the Congo. Yet, the 
institutional framework for the global state was founded during the Second World War. 
That institutional system of closely related organizations, sharing a collective memory of 
appeasement and global war, would live on through the century, becoming the nexus of 
ideological, epistemological, and organizational development during the Cold War.'*' It 
would take the global war to another stage in the metascript — a stage in which the two 
sides existed in a state of suspicion and hostility, while the technocratic structures of 

Two of the classic works on nuclear war were written less than fifteen years after Hiroshima. 
By 1960, nuclear annihilation as a postwar reality was well established in the literature. See 
Bernard Brodie, Strategy in the Missile Age (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1959) and 
Herman Kahn, On Thermonuclear War. 

Miroslav Nincic, The Arms Race: The Political Economy of Military Growth (Westport, CT: 
Praeger, 1982), 10-64; William J. Weida and Frank L. Gertcher, The Political Economy of 
National Defense (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1987): Hooks, Forging the Military-Industrial 
Complex, 92-123. 

^^^Leffler, Preponderance of Power, 142-81: Hogan, A Cross of Iron, 220-29: Cumings, 
Parallax Visions, 74-104. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

power and knowledge continued to grow and expand, eventually to outstrip the very 
system that engendered their existence. 


Chapter V 
The Orthodox Cold War 

The Cold War's Metascript 

Returning to the vantage point of the world atlas photographs taken some twenty 
thousand miles from earth, we see that the end of the Second World War and the period 
in history known as the Cold War had virtually no effect. Watching intently from 
geosynchronous orbit, an observer would not have noticed much of the war that wreaked 
havoc in Europe and East Asia. To the naked eye, the battle of Stalingrad would not have 
been visible. The tens of millions of casualties on the Russian plains, the huge tank 
battles and artillery barrages that decided the war in Europe would not have been noticed 
except for perhaps the flashes of large explosions, mere dots sparkling into outer space. 
The observer would have had no idea of the massive planning operations for the 
Normandy invasion or whether the invasion had taken place, or any of the political 
intrigue that accompanied the war. The only war-related events of measurable importance 
to the observer would have been the nuclear explosion in the New Mexican desert in July 
1945 that began the atomic age, and the subsequent blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 
Over the course of the next several decades, the observer might have seen other nuclear 
open-air blasts in the twenty years or so that those were allowed for testing. However, 
nothing else would have been apparent to the naked eye, from the beginning of the Cold 
War to its end some forty-five years later. In terms of geology, the observer might have 
seen changes in the amount of vegetation on various points of the planet. He or she might 
notice, comparing photographs from the 1940s with those from the 1980s and 1990s, that 
the amount of green color had declined, representing the effects of population growth, 
desertification, and the clearing of forest lands by humans. However, from a geophysical 
perspective, the earth would have hardly changed. Perhaps, because of the rise in the 
earth's temperature due to greenhouse gases, the polar ice capes would have receded 
measurably, but otherwise the earth would not have changed at all. This might be our 

Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

conclusion in spite of wliat we know. In the space of no more than two human 
generations, human civilization had undergone very rapid change that could be defined as 
beneficial, or in other ways destructive to humans and to their surroundings. The world 
had changed through a global human culture that was responsive to the growth of 
institutions, complex intellectual technologies, and a collective script for humanity that 
distributed success as well as tragedy across the surface of the earth. 

The Cold War was a metascript that carried the world through parallel revolutions in 
political economy, institutions, social and scientific thought, and technology. In its 
aftermath, a still conflicted and much impoverished world had become enveloped by a 
new technocratic order. A huge technological complex connected billions of human 
beings in the emergence of a new civilization. A new global script was founded upon the 
technologies that governed the nuclear and conventional military confrontation between 
the two superpowers. However, at its beginning, nothing was very clear except the 
horrific legacy of the last war and the cruel possibilities for a new one. In its broadest 
context, the conflict, as with its immediate predecessor, was an international 
confrontation that involved the international community in its entirety. The conflict, 
global and ideological, lasted for more than four decades. The United States alone, it was 
estimated, spent more than ten trillion dollars related to the global confrontation between 
Marxist-Leninist and liberal ideology, and between the interests of the United States and 
the Soviet Union as competing nation-states. It may not be entirely accurate for world 
history to privilege one or several perspectives of the major actors in the conflict when 
there were so many others. However, since this book concerns the history of the twentieth 
century in the Western and most particularly the American context, it is that perspective 
that I will discuss primarily in this and ensuing chapters. ^^° 

works previously cited by Hogan, Cumings, Gaddis, and Lejfler, recent 
important literature includes Melvyn P. Lejfler and David S. Painter, eds., Origins of the Cold 
War: An International History (New York: Routledge, 1994); Odd Arne Westad, ed., Reviewing the 
Cold War: Approaches, Interpretations, and Theory, Nobel Symposium (London: Frank Cass, 
2000): Lori Lyn Bogle, ed., The Cold War, 5 vols. (New York: Routledge, 2001); Adam B. Ulam, 
Understanding the Cold War: A Historian's Personal Reflections (Charlottesville, VA: Leopolis 
Press, 2000); Abbott Gleason, Totalitarianism: The Inner History of the Cold War (New York: 
Oxford University Press, 1995); Gregory Mitrovich, Undermining the Kremlin: America's Strategy 
to Subvert the Soviet Bloc, 1947-1956 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000); Matthew 
Evangelista, Unarmed Forces: The Transnational Movement to End the Cold War (Ithaca, NY: 
Cornell University Press, 1999); Paul A. Chilton, Security Metaphors: Cold War Discourse from 
Containment to Common House (New York: P. Lang, 1996); Godfried van Benthem van den 
Bergh, The Nuclear Revolution and the End of the Cold War: Forced Restraint (Houndmills, MD: 
Macmillan, 1992); Robert C. Grogin, Natural Enemies: The United States and the Soviet Union in 
the Cold War, 1917-1991 (Boulder, CO: Lexington Books, 2001); Peter W. Rodman, More 
Precious Than Peace: The Cold War and the Struggle for the Third World (New York: Simon <& 
Schuster, 1994); Chen Jian, Mao's China and the Cold War (Chapel Hill: University of North 
Carolina Press, 2001); Richard Ned Lebow and Thomas Risse-Kappen, eds.. International 
Relations Theory and the End of the Cold War (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995); 


The Orthodox Cold War 

I do so even though the Soviet Union's history of the Cold War was every bit as 
representative of what happened in the world between 1945 and 1990 as the American 
narrative. Even if we, as free people in the post-Cold War era, reject the principles of the 
Soviet state and those of most other communist or nondemocratic states, the perspective 
of hard-line Soviets was indeed a "genuine" view of the Cold War. In the Soviet context, 
the Cold War pitted international revolutionary movements against world capitalism. 
Socialist movements fought a battle over decades to preserve the international movement 
founded upon the ideas of Marx and Lenin. In the end, however, the capitalists were far 
stronger than the socialists, defeating them through more productive economic methods. 
Although socialism was at a severe disadvantage vis-a-vis an adversary that dominated 
the world economically, the movement survived as a rival of capitalism for more than 
seventy years, and continues to survive as a voice for the dispossessed in Third World 
countries. However, in the dominant Western context, the socialist view of history was 
misguided and most certainly a fraudulent perspective from which to view recent world 
history. The socialist view of the Cold War denies what the world has learned about the 
history of communism during the post-Cold War period — namely, that the dissidents of 
the Soviet era were right. The nature of Soviet-bloc communism was defined by 
appalling brutality. As discussed earlier, the practices of the bloc were based upon a 
political ideology that subscribed to totalitarian methods that resulted in the deaths of 

The Western Cold War narrative starts from the Second World War and continues to 
the beginning of the information age. It works through the global transformations in the 
context of the East-West conflict, also known as the struggle of the free world against 
totalitarianism. As events unfolded, the script wove together accepted central concepts of 
human freedom with their societal referents. These were equality, civil rights, democratic 
development, and the strategic concepts related to military power and national security. 

Pierre Allan and Kjell Goldmann, eds., The End of the Cold War: Evaluating Theories of 
International Relations (Boston: Kluwer Law International, 1995); Raymond L. Garthojf, A 
Journey through the Cold War: A Memoir of Containment and Coexistence (Washington, DC: 
Brookings Institution, 2001); Vladislav Zubok and Constantine Pleshakov, Inside the Kremlin's 
Cold War: From Stalin to Khrushchev (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996); Richard 
J. Aldrich, The Hidden Hand: Britain, America and Cold War Secret Intelligence (London: John 
Murray, 2001); Scott Lucas, Freedom's War: The American Crusade against the Soviet Union 
(New York: New York University, 1999); Norman Friedman, The Fifty- Year War: Conflict and 
Strategy in the Cold War (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2000); Martin J. Medhurst, Cold 
War Rhetoric: Strategy, Metaphor, and Ideology (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 
1997); Benjamin O. Fordham, Building the Cold War Consensus: The Political Economy of U.S. 
National Security Policy, 1949-51 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998); Walter 
LaFeber, America, Russia, and the Cold War, 1945-2000 (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2002). 

Stephane Courtois et al. The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression 
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999); Conquest, The Great Terror; Davies, Europe, 
1089-1109, 1329; Andrzej Walicki, Marxism and the Leap to the Kingdom of Freedom: The Rise 
and Fall of the Communist Utopia (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

For the West (excluding Western communists wlio most often sided loyally with the 
international movement) the challenge posed after the destruction of fascism was clear. 
Witnesses to the Stalinist atrocities in the Soviet Union had no doubts about the nature of 
the enemy. Within just a few years after the Second World War the new script had 
transformed itself into a confirmed orthodoxy. From the late 1940s to the 1960s, the tone 
of the Cold War was hard and militarized, with little room for compromise shown by 
either side. This is what I term the orthodox period of the conflict. The elucidation of 
many of its aspects is the concern of this chapter. 

Orthodoxy eventually transitioned to revisionism or postorthodoxy during the 1960s. 
The American revisionist script carried the narrative through the end of the Vietnam War 
and the one tumultuous term of the Carter administration. American Cold War 
revisionism challenged fundamental aspects of the technocratic state and its ideology. 
When the revisionist period was finally overtaken by the neo-orthodoxy of the Reagan 
era, a new conservative script reinforced the old liberationist ideology of the Cold War. 
Finally, when the Soviets had reached the end of their system, the Cold War ended, not in 
cataclysm but in a series of events that dismantled the edifice, physically, emotionally, 
and intellectually.'''^ 

With each movement, the Cold War script reoriented, bringing the actors into 
dialectical exchanges that concerned power, economics, and the political dynamics of 
twentieth-century history. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, the nuclear test ban treaty, the 
Gulf of Tonkin, and finally the commitment of American combat units in large numbers 
in Vietnam, the ensuing antiwar movement brought the Cold War into the period of 
postorthodoxy or revisionism. In the revisionist era, the ideology of the script was 
successfully challenged in the public crises over Vietnam. The revisionist Cold War led 
to an intellectual as well as a political and social revolution in America. In American 
intellectual discourse, the left blossomed. Feminism, environmentalism, and ethnic 
liberation movements marked a new and aggressive age of reform that sought to capture 
the energy and radicalism of earlier populist and progressive-era movements. As nuclear 
weapons grew more deadly, and as hundreds of thousands of American troops were 
deployed in the swamps and mountain highlands of Indochina, the Cold War became an 
object of political debate."' 

The revisionist period replaced the Soviet Union with China as the main enemy, and 
then, with Nixon's opening to China and the ensuing events of the 1970s, the Chinese 
became allies and the Soviet threat was reborn. Finally, in the post- Vietnam period, the 

The Velvet Revolution: Czechoslovakia, 1988-1991 
(Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995); American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Exit from 
Communism (Cambridge, MA: American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1992); Maier, 

Noam Chomsky, American Power and the New Mandarins (New York: Pantheon Books, 
1969) and Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies (Boston: South End Press, 
1989); Todd Gitlin, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (New York: Bantam Books, 1993); 
Isserman and Kazin, America Divided. 


The Orthodox Cold War 

revived Soviet threat returned the Cold War to a period of neo-orthodoxy. Now, the 
Soviets were once more formidable and aggressive. The Soviets appeared to threaten a 
first strike capability in the early 1980s, and, indeed, a nuclear war was narrowly avoided 
in 1983. In the face of this genuine threat, the neo-orthodox script entertained one of the 
principal ideas of the late Cold War — the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). The Reagan 
administration promised the ultimate deployment of the technocratic age, a massive 
trillion-dollar futuristic edifice, demonstrating the status of the military in Reagan's 
America and the regard for the technocratic scientific-industrial system for the production 
of superweapons and control systems of infinite complexity. ''''' 

Finally, the international rivalry ended — the Soviets and their empire collapsed. The 
Chinese and a handful of other states survived as Marxist-Leninist states, but the Cold 
War as an international phenomenon of historical importance had indeed become history. 
With its end came a new turn in the literature of the conflict. The post-Cold War period 
brought new evidence and new perspectives; multinational and multiarchival research 
was undertaken in hopes of finally bringing perspective to an extraordinary period in 
world history. The literature on the Cold War, as with the First and Second World Wars, 
has become an entity unto itself. Given the length of the conflict and the intensive 
ongoing scholarship being done in archives all over the world, its subject depth is truly 
great. The research includes work to elucidate the decision-making that guided the 
communist regimes. This includes research on the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of 
China, the Eastern European allies or satellites, Vietnam, North Korea, and other national 
governments and political parties allied against the West. The quality and quantity of the 
evidence, archival or otherwise, varies from one country to the next. Archival materials 
on diplomatic history have become available to different degrees from various foreign 
countries. The evidence from all sources. Western and non-Western, communist and 
noncommunist, varies widely. However, the greatest amount of documentation, and 
where much more work and evidence should be revealed, remains in the United States. 
As any scholar of the period can attest, the U.S. archives offer the most extensive 
diplomatic, military, and institutional records, preserved at various sites around the 
country. One scholar could not master all archival sources from around the world that 
bear upon the Cold War. Nor could one individual read the full historiography of the 
period. These statements would be true even if the person were limited to reading the 
diplomatic history of the period, which spanned four and one-half decades of 
international history and involved scores of international actors. 

For a clear understanding of the expansion of Soviet power in the late 1970s, albeit in 
response to the continued technological development of Western strength, see the memoirs of 
Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, Brzezinski, Power and Principle, 426—69; Reiss, The 
Strategic Defense Initiative; Frances Fitzgerald, Way out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars, 
and the End of the Cold War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000); Sanford Lakoff, A Shield in 
Space? Technology, Politics, and the Strategic Defense Initiative (Berkeley: University of 
California Press, 1989). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

As a result of the Cold War, the redeemer nation expanded its domain to a degree that 
earlier generations of Americans might have found unimaginable. To sustain the 
containment structure and its global mandate, the once isolationist nation achieved a truly 
hegemonic presence in the international system. American imperialism at the turn of the 
nineteenth century had envisioned an aggressive America that dominated the Pacific and 
Atlantic oceans and the Western Hemisphere. Yet, the technocratic nation-state that came 
out of the Second World War was an order of magnitude greater than the early twentieth- 
century Rooseveltian or Mahanian vision of a powerful America. The new American 
hegemony that arrived during the Truman administration and developed continuously 
over decades went far beyond the steel battleships and coaling stations of the classic 
period of American overseas expansion. Rather, in 1950, the containment structure for 
the national security state as it surveyed the world had come to include the planet in its 
entirety. As with all great powers in history, from ancient Rome to the Spanish, French, 
and British empires of the modern period, the United States would exercise its newly 
founded hegemony to project its technocratic script."*'^ 

The Soviet Union, the American nemesis, was involved in the same project. A 
superpower in its own right, although perhaps not a match for the scientific-industrial 
strength of the United States, the Soviet Union projected its script too. The Soviet script 
was a synthesis of Russian authoritarianism and the metascript for Marxist-Leninist 
ideology. Stalin had been the master of the union of Russia's absolutist history and its 
Leninist ideology. He had used the Soviet Communist Party as a weapon, destroying 
enemies and perceived enemies. His ruthlessness was indeed quite pathological. 
Nonetheless, in the last years of his rule, he followed a policy that confronted the United 
States as well as American European allies still carrying on their exploitation of colonial 
peoples. He challenged the United States, as did his successor, Nikita Khrushchev. The 
Soviet challenges in Korea, Berlin, and Cuba demonstrated the power of the Soviet 
Union and its global status as a superpower. The Soviet script built Russian power on the 
nuclear weapons it manufactured, and on the ballistic missiles it developed to 
demonstrate to the world that it was the equal of the United States. If the Soviets feared 
the United States, which they did, they still believed in the viability and justness of the 
socialist command economies they supported in Europe and elsewhere.''^ 

^^^Leffler, Preponderance of Power, 448-53; Hogan, A Cross of Iron, 209-64; Gaddis, 
Strategies of Containment, 89-128; Cumings, The Roaring of the Cataract, 35-78; Kennedy, The 
Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, 373-95. 

"^R. C. Raack, Stalin's Drive to the West, 1938-1945: The Origins of the Cold War (Stanford, 
CA: Stanford University Press, 1995); Bullocic, Hitler and Stalin, 916-57; John C. Ausland, 
Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Berlin-Cuba Crisis, 1961-1964 (Boston: Scandinavian University 
Press, 1996); James G. Richter, Khrushchev's Double Bind: International Pressures and Domestic 
Coalition Politics (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994), 58-173; Sergei N. 
Khrushchev, Nikita Khrushchev and the Creation of a Superpower (University Park, PA: Penn 
State University Press, 2000), 439-662. 


The Orthodox Cold War 

On one level, the Cold War was a rivalry between nation-states. Warsaw Pact and 
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, instruments of Soviet and American 
power, watched and tested each other over decades. In Korea, Chinese and Korean forces 
fought a proxy war against the Americans. In Vietnam, Vietnamese forces did the same 
thing. In Cuba in 1962, Soviet and American air and naval units tested the possibility of 
nuclear war. In Afghanistan in the 1980s, Afghan guerrillas tested the Soviet army in its 
destructive counterinsurgency campaign against the tribesmen. Proxy wars and crises 
typified the contest. China was used by the Soviets in Korea, but later the Chinese formed 
their own position during the 1960s to oppose both the United States and the Soviet 
Union. In Vietnam, Soviet and Chinese aid supported the North Vietnamese, but neither 
country moved toward war against the other. Finally, in the last two decades of the 
conflict, China moved toward a de facto alliance against the Soviets. Chinese and 
American forces, along with European, Middle Eastern, and Central American nations 
allied with the West, contained the Soviet Union in the 1980s. ''^ 

Like all other international wars, this one was a working out of national scripts. The 
interior conflicts that defined societies were represented in the external reality of 
international conflict. On a higher level, however, the scripts for the Soviet Union and 
America were connected. What was unique about the Cold War was its global and largely 
bipolar nature. Never before in world history had the entire surface of the globe been a 
contested space between two powers. Technological advances had made the reach of the 
opposing military systems unlimited. The missiles, satellites, nuclear submarines, and 
aircraft carriers of the superpowers roamed the earth in its totality. The Second World 
War had been global, as were the First World War, the Napoleonic Wars, and earlier still 
the eighteenth-century sea-power wars between Great Britain and France. In world 
history, no land empire was larger than the Mongolian of the Middle Ages, or more 
lasting than the Roman Empire. Yet, the Cold War involved the human race in its entirety 
over two generations. It linked thousands of cultures and innumerable national, group, 
and institutional scripts in a global narrative. The encounter between them, like the earlier 
scripts for the international system, coalesced around the global theater and the 
metascript for humankind.^'* 

When the two powers divided Europe and the Korean peninsula, and set the lines for 
containment throughout Asia, Stalin's Russia was linked to the larger transnational script 
that governed Marxist-Leninist ideology. The script for Marxist-Leninist regimes, like the 
script for the Roman Catholic Church or the script for Sunni Islam, or the script for any 
doctrinal system, programmed the operational methods that established Stalinist or 

^Li and Li, China and the United States; Jian, Mao's China and the Cold War, 205-76. 
Adas, Islamic and European Expansion; Michael W. Doyle, Empires (Ithaca, NY: Cornell 
University Press, 1986), 51-138; S. N. Eisenstadt, The Political Systems of Empires (New 
Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1993), 156-221; Timothy Parsons, The British Imperial 
Century, 1815-1914: A World History Perspective (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999); 
Susan E. Alcock, ed., Empires: Perspectives from Archaeology and History (New York: Cambridge 
University Press, 2001); Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, 357-72. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Marxist-Leninist regimes around the world. The ponderous Soviet state, overburdened 
with technocratic systems of control, attempted the ongoing project of scientific 
socialism, the national and multinational realization of the ideas of Marx and Lenin. 
Conversely, the American script linked itself to the liberal culture, whose origins, like 
those of Marx and Lenin, were in early modern European history. American liberal 
ideology and technocratic liberal designs realized the liberal metascript — in practice a 
more dynamic and effective political economy than its socialist rival. As historians and 
political scientists examined the connections between ideology and nationalism, their 
subjects did precisely what they expected. The nationalist scripts were connected but 
subsumed under the transnational scripts for Marxism-Leninism and twentieth-century 
Western liberalism.^'' 

In the abstract, the question for the Cold War was simple enough to understand, no 
matter where the observer was on the ideological spectrum. Plainly, which of these 
transnational scripts would finally triumph? Which metascript divined from European 
history would capture cultural and political dominance of the international system? 
Which view of the state and the nature of political economy would determine the path of 
world history? These were the stakes as understood by dedicated communists in Moscow 
and elsewhere in the world, and by the Truman administration in the spring of 1950 when 
national security thinkers, businessmen, social scientists, diplomats, and public 
administrators created the framework for Cold War containment. To some of the victims 
of communism who had survived imprisonment and/or exile, the answer was also simple 
enough. "Being precedes essence," proclaimed Vaclav Havel to the world, words that 
related the idea of a failed materialism. To those trapped in the socialist world, tractors 
and cement factories and mass education could not replace freedom and autonomy. The 
simple right of individual freedom, lost under socialism, was irreplaceable to people who 
saw freedom just across the divide of Europe. The other script, democratic liberalism, 
provided freedom, and, as we know, much more."""" 

Clearly, the socialist technocratic project failed because its doctrines denied the 
essence of modern Western modernity, which is the idea that individuals have a primary 
claim upon society and the state. Despite the high hopes of Western intellectuals who 
subscribed to dialectical materialism as a theory of history and a political movement for 
the liberation of humankind, in the end it was the Marxist variant of socialism that 
strangled itself. Yet at mid-century, the reasons for communist liberation were apparent 
to those activists and thinkers who saw the most abhorrent aspects of fascism in Europe, 
Asia, and Latin America. It was completely evident to leftist observers, right up to the fall 
of the Berlin Wall and even afterward, that socialism was necessary. They saw the cruel 
exploitation of human beings working in fields as farm laborers on large estates or in 

Vladimir Shalpentokh, A Normal Totalitarian Society: How the Soviet Union Functioned and 
How It Collapsed (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sliarpe, 2001), 3-62; Gregor, Faces of Janus, 45-88; Chris 
Ward, ed.. The Stalinist Dictatorship (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 148-227. 

*'"'Tim Whipple, After the Revolution: The New Leaders of Czechoslovakia Speak Out (New 
York: Freedom House, 1991); Wheaton and Kavan, The Velvet Revolution, 127-51. 


The Orthodox Cold War 

factories producing cheap exports for apparel companies in the West. They saw the plight 
of Amazonian Indians, as well as the indigenous peoples in the Andes, Central America, 
Mexico, sub-Saharan Africa, and everywhere on the planet where raw materials, 
unskilled labor, and global capitalism mixed together. The need for revolution was seen 
by the left not only in the socialist bloc, but also by every manner of Marxist, neo- 
Marxist, and social democrat who witnessed and experienced the real practice of 
capitalism on every continent in the world. '*"' 

The revolutions that overthrew right-wing authoritarian regimes in China in the late 
1940s; in Indochina in the 1950s, 1960s, and finally 1970s; in Korea in the late 1940s; 
and in Cuba in the late 1950s were all popular revolutions. Throughout the Cold War, 
radical movements everywhere gained followers opposed to the mercenary regimes of so 
many Third World countries. Before communism died in Europe in the late 1980s, 
communist or socialist-oriented regimes spread throughout Africa and Asia and found 
wide public support in many areas of Latin America. The material deprivations that Third 
World and, in some cases. First World capitalism inflicted upon workers and farmers 
united them in the belief in a socialist path to development. When that development 
failed, as it did all over the world, the revolutionary script began to lose legitimacy. The 
cultural diffusion of Western values and tastes lured the Third World away from gray 
authoritarian socialism. In Latin America, Africa, and Asia, animosity felt toward the 
United States as an imperialist nation no longer was as prevalent and pervasive."' By the 
late 1980s, with socialism around the world moving toward the West for financial and 

John Lee Anderson, Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life (New York: Grove Press, 1997); 
Marifeli Perez-Stable, The Cuban Revolution: Origins, Course, and Legacy (New York: Oxford 
University Press, 1999), 36-120; Chomsky, Deterring Democracy; Cedric J. Robinson, Black 
Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina 
Press, 2000); Forrest D. Colburn, The Vogue of Revolution in Poor Countries (Princeton, NJ: 
Princeton University Press, 1994); Barry M. Schutz and Robert O. Slater, eds.. Revolution and 
Political Change in the Third World (Boulder CO: Rienner, 1990). 

'Jolie Demmers, Alex E. Fernandez Jilberto, and Barbara Hogenboom, eds.. Miraculous 
Metamorphoses: The Neoliberalization of Latin American Populism (New York: Palgrave, 2001); 
Paul Craig Roberts, The Capitalist Revolution in Latin America (New York: Oxford University 
Press, 1997); Sebastian Edwards, Crisis and Reform in Latin America: From Despair to Hope 
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1995); E. Wayne Nafziger, African Capitalism: A Case Study 
in Nigerian Entrepreneurship (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1977); Francis G. Snyder, 
Capitalism and Legal Change: An African Transformation (New York: Academic Press, 1981); 
John Iliffe, The Emergence of African Capitalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 
1983); Paul Kennedy, African Capitalism: The Struggle for Ascendancy (New York: Cambridge 
University Press, 1988); Jonathan Silas Zwingina, Capitalist Development in an African Economy 
(Ibadan, Nigeria: University Press, 1992); John Rapley, Ivoirien Capitalism: African 
Entrepreneurs in Cote d'lvoire (Boulder, CO: Rienner, 1993); Ruth McVey, ed.. Southeast Asian 
Capitalists (Ithaca, NY: Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 1992); Pradip K. Ghosh, ed.. 
Developing South Asia: A Modernization Perspective (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1984); 
Krishnalekha Sood, Trade and Economic Development: India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh (Newbury 
Park, CA: Sage, 1989). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

technical assistance, the idea of Western imperialism lost its immediacy. The United 
States was no longer the imperialist nation it had long been portrayed to be. Rather, it had 
become a helpful developer to countries anxious to belong to the trading systems of the 
advanced industrialized states. When the script died in Europe, even if it survived in a 
modified form in Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, and China, it died as a compelling force 
competing against the liberal technocratic order. The collective Western narrative 
followed totalitarianism to its logical end and buried it. The redeemer nation fought the 
Cold War in the direct path of Marxism-Leninism, and, true to its history and its self- 
defined mission, it remained as its rival crumbled to dust.'*"'' 

This monograph does not attempt to add to the archive-based literature on the Cold 
War conflict from the perspectives of either international or American-based primary 
sources. Consistent with the thesis of this book, the present chapter on the orthodox 
period (and the ensuing chapters that carry the synthesis to the present post-Cold War 
period) focuses on the larger themes of international history in the twentieth century. The 
ideas that develop in this narrative orient toward what John Lewis Gaddis has called the 
"tectonic" shifts of the Cold War. In the technocratic narrative, these ideas are the 
architecture for the Cold War's international and American scripts. The purpose of those 
scripts remains what it was earlier in the century during the First World War, the interwar 
period, and the Second World War. The metascript for the West, established upon the 
religious and secular foundations of Western culture, remained the technocratic synthesis, 
the expansion of the scientific and industrial systems that define Western modernity. 

There were and are different visions and concepts of modern Utopia. Historical 
practice does not suggest that Western and American cultures are privileged above non- 
Western cultures in viewing any point of the past, distant or recent. However, the 
underlying questions that concern any world conflict remain the same, irrespective of the 
respondent. Where is/was the international system headed? What were the origins of the 
conflict and what does it mean? The Cold War followed the world through nearly half a 
century of global change. That change has many descriptions. "Modernization" remains a 
term used by social scientists to describe the transformation of social systems.^" I have 
used the phrase "liberal technocratic order" to describe the period in world history from 
the First World War to the present. In this context, the Cold War was a process of that 
order, in which liberalism and technocracy organized the global political economy. On its 
surface, the world viewed through eyes of journalists appeared chaotic, random, and 
capricious. Yet, underneath that chaos were complex relationships between scripted 
mechanisms for global and national order. 

Saxonberg, The Fall, 3-34; Maier, Dissolution, 3-58. 

Marion J. Levy Jr., Modernization and the Structure of Societies, 2 vols. (New Brunswick, 
NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1996); June Grasso, Modernization and Revolution in China (Armonk, 
NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1997); Ronald Inglehart, Modernization and Postmodernization: Cultural, 
Economic, and Political Change in 43 Societies (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997). 


The Orthodox Cold War 

Briefly: The Origins 

Amid chaos and horrific destruction, the Cold War rivalry began nearly concurrently 
with the end of the Second World War. Allied armies swarmed over the debris of the 
Third Reich. The West was in control of Italy, France, the Low Countries, Scandinavia, 
Greece, Turkey, and approximately two-thirds of the former German nation-state. The 
Soviets occupied Eastern Europe and East Germany. Readjusting territorial boundaries, 
they drove millions of ethnic Germans from their ancestral homelands and installed 
communist governments from Bulgaria on the Black Sea to the German Democratic 
Republic on the Baltic. In the areas of American and British control, anticommunist 
movements were given support and procommunist forces were suppressed. The reverse, 
with much harsher terms, was true in the Soviet sphere. Both sides understood quite 
early, much before Churchill's 1946 Iron Curtain speech or Truman's inauguration of 
what became known as the Truman Doctrine, that the new terms for world peace had to 
do with accommodating the rivalry between the West and the international communist 

It was a natural corollary to the destruction of fascism that the ideological camps of 
the two surviving great powers, the United States and the Soviet Union, would oppose 
each other. In the ruins of Eastern and Central Europe and what had been the Japanese 
empire, the Allies looked for the future reconstruction of an international system that 
would be friendly to their interests. Yet, Stalinism and liberal internationalism were 
inherently diametrically opposed to one another. American and British perceptions of 
Stalin and his regime were universally hostile. From being close wartime allies who 
shared victory over Nazism, within five years they had become enemies poised to wage 
yet another world war. 

In American decision-making circles, prominent intellectuals advising the Truman 
administration reached the conclusion that the Soviet Union threatened the very survival 
the United States. Such beliefs were testimony not only to the shocking condition of the 
international community after the most destructive war in history, but to the profound 
consequences of the development of the atomic bomb. I have termed the early Cold War 
the "orthodox" period because of the extreme nature of the ideological positions of the 
liberal and Stalinist camps. It was a period characterized by a certain amount of rigidity 
and paranoia in American political culture, shown most notably by the phenomenon of 
McCarthyism.'"' It was also a time of large-scale technocratic development, when the 

^Leffler, Preponderance of Power, 107-10; Paul A. Rahe, "The Beginning of the Cold War, " 
in James W. Muller, ed., Churchill's "Iron Curtain" Speech Fifty Years Later (Columbia: 
University of Missouri Press, 1999), 49-67. 

Martin A. Trow, Right- Wing Radicalism and Political Intolerance: A Study of Support for 
McCarthy in a New England Town (New York: Arno Press, 1980); Richard M. Fried, Nightmare in 
Red: The McCarthy Era in Perspective (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990); M. J. Heale, 
McCarthy's Americans: Red Scare Politics in State and Nation, 1935-1965 (Athens: University of 
Georgia Press, 1998); Ellen Schrecker, Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America (Boston: 
Little, Brown, 1998). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

"power elite," to cite C. Wright Mills's famous book, and the "military-industrial 
complex," to quote D wight D. Eisenhower's 1960 farewell address, thoroughly 
dominated the industrial-scientific-academic spheres of American society. Orthodoxy 
found Americans enraptured in a consensus-oriented culture that came to expect the 
possibility of a nuclear exchange with its foreign enemy as a believable scenario. The 
sinister nature of communism, in many respects open to dispute by historians today, was 
essential to the American script to wage war against evil. Clearly, there was evil and 
oppression from the vantage point of liberal ideology and culture. The American script, 
the orthodox script for the Cold War, was to "defend the free world." It was, as the young 
John F. Kennedy said on the steps of the capitol building, to "bear any burden, meet any 
hardship ... to assure the survival and the success of liberty.""*"' 

Viewed in its entirety, the Cold War era, from Churchill's 1946 Iron Curtain speech 
through the "velvet revolutions" of 1989, was a time that in many ways may or should 
only be described in superlatives. Indeed, in world history it was a period of enormous, 
even breathtaking development, albeit not necessarily beneficial. With significant change 
occurring in political, economic, social, and cultural domains globally and with the 
simultaneity expected in an era saturated by the mass media, the period humbles those 
who try to reduce it to a few simple principles of sociological and historical 
transformation. Political change, often radical but always significant, was found in the 
emergence of so many new and diverse nation-states. In the wake of nationalist 
movements, emboldened by the outcomes of the Second World War, decolonization 
erupted around the Third World. Their legacies became the communist, socialist, liberal, 
and fundamentalist movements that over decades changed the face of global politics. By 
the end of the Cold War, democratic movements, including those related to native 
peoples, ethnic minorities, women, and others in the economic and social underclass, 
were seeded throughout the Third World. The pyramidal scheme of the pre-Cold War 
global community showed Europe and North America commanding the earth. Yet, by the 
last decade of the twentieth century, the nature of internationalism had shifted from the 
West to a new concept of globalism. Understanding the world as a political entity in 1990 
was a far cry from understanding it in the mid-1940s. The division of the world between 
liberals and revolutionary socialists had forced a reinterpretation of the structure of global 
politics. In particular, it forced a new understanding of the relationship between the core 
of advanced industrialized states and the periphery of colonial and postcolonial 

Text of Kennedy's inaugural address outlining policies on world peace and freedom, New 
York Times, January 21, 1961, p. 8; Mills, The Power Elite, 198-241; Gregg B. Walker, David A. 
Bella, and Steven J. Sprecher, eds.. The Military-Industrial Complex: Eisenhower's Warning Three 
Decades Later (New York: P. Lang, 1992). 

*''^Valentine Udoh James, ed.. Sustainable Development in Third World Countries: Applied and 
Theoretical Perspectives (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996); Jennifer Elliot, Introduction to 
Sustainable Development (New York: Routledge, 1999). 


The Orthodox Cold War 

Indochina, which was nothing more than a French colony until 1945, was divided into 
four nation-states by the 1950s. By the end of the Cold War, it was an area that had links 
to both the capitalist and the dying Soviet socialist system. This was because the older 
form of imperialism that had settled in the European empires of the nineteenth century 
was gone, faced with the imposing demands of the Cold War, by the mid-twentieth. In its 
place came American and East Asian capitalism and the liberal technocratic order. The 
Cold War had taken part in the creation of the nation-states of the former French 
Indochina. Cold War institutions built the Vietnamese and Cambodian and Laotian states. 
By the end of the 1980s, Vietnam in particular was an emerging power in the region. Yet, 
the Cold War had pushed Vietnam once more into the orbit of the international capitalist 
culture of the West. Independence, a cherished concept coterminous with nationalism in 
Vietnamese culture, remained a paradoxical issue for a global political economy that 
exerted enormous pressure to integrate and compartmentalize entire societies into the 
capitalist scientific-industrial system of the advanced states.''"'' 

The Cold War found two rival industrial systems working to expand a technocratic 
global culture that linked elite groups on every continent. This political and economic 
transformation included profound demographic change. The modernization programs tied 
to the Cold War rivalry contributed to the vast population explosion that tripled, 
quadrupled, and quintupled national populations over the course of less than half a 
century. Basic provisions for public health and nutrition led to enormous population 
growth in the Third World. This growth forced deep problems still deeper in countries 
that had no functioning class of people who were trained to govern a modern Western- 
like society. During the twentieth century, the geographical science of demography 
improved its data collection and analytical tools. By the end of the Cold War, impressive 
charts and tables showed the comparative ages and growth rates of human populations 
around the world. There were twice as many people on earth when the Cold War ended 
as when it began. With higher populations, there were much higher levels of human 
consumption and environmental stress. Western consumer cultures, the socialist 
countries, and the Third World all contributed to the global destruction of natural 
ecosystems through human settlement, industrial pollution, and deforestation. Scientists 
had begun to warn of the consequences of ecological change, including the most 
worrisome thesis: that hydrocarbon emissions threatened a rise in atmospheric 
temperatures that would warm the earth, force the disappearance of the polar ice regions, 
and usher in potentially catastrophic consequences .''"' 

David G. Marr, ed., Postwar Vietnam: Dilemmas in Socialist Development {Ithaca, NY: 
Southeast Asian Studies Program, Cornell University, 1988); William S. Turley and Mark Selden, 
eds.. Reinventing Vietnamese Socialism: Doi Moi in Comparative Perspective (Boulder, CO: 
Westview Press, 1993); Eero Palmujoki, Vietnam and the World: Marxist-Leninist Doctrine and 
the Changes in International Relations, 1975-93 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997). 

Roderick J. Mcintosh, Joseph A. Tainter, and Susan Keech Mcintosh, eds.. The Way the 
Wind Blows: Climate, History, and Human Action (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000); 
James J. McCarthy, ed.. Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability: 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Outstanding changes in the standard of living occurred in much of the industrialized 
world. There were many more cars, and larger homes with air conditioning, television 
sets, and all the new electronic devices that began to become commonplace in American, 
European, and Japanese homes, beginning in the 1980s. It was normal, even expected, in 
many affluent communities in the West, that to live the good life, individuals and families 
would need to maximize the use of natural resources in the form of fossil fuel energy, 
fresh water, forests, and arable land. Even as massive nuclear arsenals, including 
bombers, submarines, and land-based deterrents sat opposite one another over thousands 
of miles of land and ocean, the Cold War remained in the background. 

In the Third World, however, the feted affluence of upper-middle-class citizens in the 
advanced industrialized world was irrelevant. Of greater consequence were the simpler 
but far more desperate problems of abject poverty that these societies faced. Here came 
the failure not only of socialism, but of liberal capitalism as well. Despite the intentions 
of the liberal order, the Third World grew on average poorer and its problems became 
more intractable than before. This happened despite the focus that the redeemer nation 
placed on the vast underdeveloped regions in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. The Cold 
War had much of the Third World as a battleground. Aid to military regimes loyal to the 
United States flowed from Congress to often corrupt officials. In the end, the missions 
and foreign aid programs accomplished far less than they hoped for the huge regions 
between the oceans that American forces protected against the possibility of communist 
envelopment. By the end of the Cold War, despite profound global change, including the 
extraordinary production of material wealth, more poverty existed in the world than at the 
end of the Second World War. Perhaps, in this effect, the redeemer nation's script had 
failed, as had the scripted intentions of the other liberal powers that had attempted 
unsuccessfully to change the underdeveloped world. Collectively, they worked their 
missions according to the traditions of progressive internationalism that began with 
Woodrow Wilson.""' 

Over half a century, from the atomic bomb era of the late 1940s to the digital and 
biotechnology revolutions of the end of the century, technological development swept 
world civilization toward the vision of which the Cold War futurists were so confident. 
The technocratic world of 1945, dominated by the technocratic civilizations of North 
America and Europe, would become far more technocratic by the 1990s. The automobile 
of 1950 was mainly a thick steel frame with large plain rubber tires, powered by a 

Contribution of Working Group II to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel 
on Climate Change (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001). 

James H. Mittetman, The Globalization Syndrome: Transformation and Resistance 
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000); Caroline Thomas, Global Governance, 
Development and Human Security: The Challenge of Poverty and Inequality (London: Pluto Press, 
2000); Christopher L. lilbert and David Vines, eds.. The World Bank: Structure and Policies (New 
York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 87—156; Howard White and Tony Killick, African 
Poverty at the Millennium: Causes, Complexities, and Challenges (Washington, DC: World Bank, 


The Orthodox Cold War 

powerful but rudimentary combustion engine. The vehicle had no emission controls for 
the high-octane leaded fuel that it ran on, nor did it have the electronic sensors and 
communication devices that later generations of automobiles would have. In sum, it was 
a machine with thick, heavy mechanical parts that used the thick, heavy hydrocarbon 
fuels that the industrial revolution had discovered to power its steel-based machine 
culture. Yet, over the course of the international conflict that sustained technological 
competition for the rest of the century, the nature of the automobile as an industrial- 
scientific product changed profoundly. The automobiles of the 1990s reflected the new 
technocratic civilization; control mechanisms were literally embedded in the new cars, 
including engine sensors and the new global positioning system (GPS) devices that 
luxury cars added in toward the end of the decade. The digital revolution promised a new 
political economy, a new basis for the production and distribution of knowledge. In 
effect, the new technological revolution promised a new level of civilization that would 
transcend the Cold War. It promised to surpass the endemic problems of the nation-state 
and perhaps the biological and psychological frailties of all human beings and their 

All of this technological promise was centered around the mid-century encounter 
between the American and Stalinist camps as they viewed the international system and 
developed the script for the next four decades. The strategic confrontation drove 
technology to sustain a military revolution. The world community, divided between 
massive nuclear arsenals and conventional military forces for forty-five years, would end 
the period with the steady integration of Western cosmopolitanism and its new scientific- 
industrial culture, based upon electronic quantification. The technocratic script, 
embedded in the technocratic orders of both liberalism and socialism, moved the world 
through the Cold War, albeit in often chaotic and destructive fashions. What had not 
changed, and in fact had continued to grow, were the severe problems of 
underdevelopment in the world's many peripheries. When the Eastern European 
revolutions of 1989 and the Soviet revolution of 1991 ended the bipolar conflict, the 
enormity of the Cold War's technological or technocratic revolution had hardly touched 
isolated poor communities around the world. The people who lived on most of the earth's 
surface, and who hugely outnumbered the sophisticated elites in the urban centers of the 
world's core, had only a supporting role in the titanic rivalry between the Marxist- 
Leninists and the liberal internationalists. Ultimately, the Cold War and its potent actor, 
the redeemer nation, as agents of technocratic order, would bear primary significance in 
the reconstruction of the modern world. 

Over decades of military and ideological confrontation, the epistemologies and 
institutions of the Cold War multiplied in depth and complexity. The rapid accumulation 

Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines (New York: Viking, 1999); Bruce Mazlish, The 
Fourth Discontinuity: The Co-evolution of Humans and Machines (New Haven, CT: Yale 
University Press, 1993); Rodney A. Brooks, Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change Us 
(New York: Pantheon Books, 2002); John M. Walker and Ralph Rapley, eds.. Molecular Biology 
and Biotechnology (Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2000). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

of human knowledge made this process inevitable. Prior to this period, there were no 
space systems, microcomputers, optical lasers, or any number of technologies that were 
facilitated by the military competition between the superpowers. In the United States and 
in other major industrialized countries, all the social and policy sciences as well as the 
physical and natural were well funded and given to rapid development throughout the age 
of nuclear confrontation. By the time the Cold War had ended, the nature of knowledge 
and the structure of world politics, commerce, and communication had undergone 
immeasurable change. Electronic computers, born from the compelling needs of the 
Second World War, were transformed by the military rivalry between the superpowers. 
Military technology, the beneficiary of almost unlimited funding, underwent rapid and 
continuous revolutions. In the 1940s, jet aircraft and atomic weapons were among the 
most potent of the new weapons systems. The 1950s produced thermonuclear weapons, 
atomic-powered submarines and aircraft carriers, and the first generation of 
intercontinental ballistic missiles. The succeeding decades made improvements on these 
weapons, including larger and more accurate missiles that could carry either nuclear or 
conventional warheads.'"'' 

The extent to which each superpower built its doomsday arsenals of thermonuclear 
devices was almost incomprehensible. In the space of half a generation, the aggregate 
power of the nuclear arsenals dwarfed the combined conventional power of the world's 
largest militaries. By the early 1960s, the American arsenal alone was several hundred 
thousand times as powerful as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. By the end of the Cold 
War, each side had maintained its "throw weights" beyond the means of conventional 
warfare, measured in multiples of the hypothetical destruction of the entire human race — 
if not from the blasts, then from the nuclear winter that was reckoned soon to follow. By 
the 1980s there were thousands of nuclear weapons that possessed muliple precision 
warheads or MIRVs (multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles) that each side 
deployed against the other. With the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) the nuclear 
scenario became impossible to manage. The combined range of nuclear and conventional 
weapons systems supported by the superpowers had become overwhelming in its global 
projection of power and in its absolute destructiveness.'"'* 

Brodie, Strategy in the Missile Age, 147-72; Sherry, The Rise of American Air Power, 177- 
218; Donald Mackenzie, Inventing Accuracy: A Historical Sociology of Nuclear Missile Guidance 
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993); Francis Duncan, Rickover and the Nuclear Navy: The 
Discipline of Technology (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990). 

Fitzgerald, Way out There in the Blue, 210-64; Harold Brown, ed., The Strategic Defense 
Initiative: Shield or Snare? (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1987); Douglas C. Waller, The 
Strategic Defense Initiative, Progress and Challenges: A Guide to Issues and References (Boulder, 
CO: Westview Press, 1987); Thomas Graham Jr., Disarmament Sketches: Three Decades of Arms 
Control and International Law (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002); Ronald E. 
Powaski, Return to Armageddon, 14—82; Paul P. Craig, John A. Jungerman, and Steven J. Zaloga, 
Nuclear Arms Race: Technology and Society (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1985); Steven J. Zaloga, 
Target America: The Soviet Union and the Strategic Arms Race, 1945-1964 (Novato, CA: Presidio 
Press, 1993); Robhin F. Laird, The Soviet Union, the West, and the Nuclear Arms Race (New 


The Orthodox Cold War 

When Reagan and Gorbachev met in Iceland in 1986, a confluence in the Cold War's 
narrative brought the two men together. Both men understood the practical and indeed 
compelling need to end the Cold War, and in that context, genuine ideas were broached 
for bringing the conflict to an end. Armageddon had been threatened for decades by 
nuclear arsenals of gargantuan proportions. The nuclear Cold War confronted humankind 
with an imminent sense of its own mortality. It confronted serious thinkers in Europe, 
North America and the rest of the world with the idea of human extinction through the 
power of technology. The prospect of human disappearance caused by nuclear winter 
prompted the astronomer Carl Sagan to argue that the possibility of human extinction 
would deprive the earth of literally millions of years of future generations of human 
beings. What was clear to Americans at the end of the Cold War was also clear near its 
beginning. To Truman, just as it was to Eisenhower and Kennedy and all their successors, 
the technocratic age of nuclear physics and rocket science promised the alternate 
possibilities of a golden age or an age of catastrophe. To quote Kennedy, "Man had the 
power to build and the power to destroy"; it was up to man, through his intelligence and 
courage, to work with the agency of the moment to decide which it would be.'"' 

Cold War Epistemology 

As suggested, the institutional and intellectual history of the Cold War was of 
enormous complexity. The epistemologies of the Cold War were connected to every 
aspect of human development as well as to the balance of power. The physical universe 
was a theoretical construct that had undergone enormous change in the first half of the 
twentieth century. It bore upon the Cold War in the general rivalry for scientific 
superiority, but also in the applied aspects of physics in nuclear research and the space 
technology that had landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface. In 
every area of science and technology, the exponential growth of technocratic knowledge 
was the paradigm. Knowledge disciplines that served the Cold War were numerous, 
important, and burgeoning. In the context of the all-consuming rivalry between the 
United States and the Soviet Union, physical science, biological science, and behavioral, 
administrative, and policy-oriented disciplines all served the multiple tasks and purposes 
assigned by different dimensions of national security. "* ' ' 

York: New York University Press, 1986), 3-82; Mary C. Fitzgerald, Changing Soviet Doctrine on 
Nuclear War (Alexandria, VA: Center for Naval Analyses, 1986). 

^Archie Brown, The Gorbachev Factor (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 232-33; 
Joseph G. Whelan, The Moscow Summit, 1988: Reagan and Gorbachev in Negotiation (Boulder, 
CO: Westview Press, 1990); Carl Sagan and Richard P. Turco, A Path Where No Man Thought: 
Nuclear Winter and the End of the Arms Race (New York: Random House, 1990), 159-219. 

Cumings, Parallax Visions, 174—204; Ira Katznelson, "The Subtle Politics of Developing 
Emergency : Political Science as Liberal Guardianship, " in Noam Chomsky, ed.. The Cold War and 
the University: Toward an Intellectual History of the Postwar Years (New York: New Press, 1997), 
233-58; Leslie, The Cold War and American Science, 14-43. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Physics was, of course, the critical discipline for the nuclear Cold War, from 
thermonuclear devices to the projected antiballistic missile systems of the 1980s and 
beyond. Chemical and biological research, both funded by military and civilian federal 
grants, supported the Cold War in weapons development as well as in the industrial and 
agricultural projects related to modernization. With respect to the Cold War, one use of 
biological knowledge was oriented toward biological weapons of mass destruction, at 
least until the United States government, under the Nixon administration, gave up such 
weapons systems. Chemistry too, in addition to its extraordinary impact on all aspects of 
industry, had military uses related to weapons of mass destruction. In all of the physical 
sciences, the production of new knowledge worked with the expansion of the means of 
national security. In addition to deadly weapons, the physical, natural, mathematical, and 
engineering sciences developed ever more complex systems for observation and control. 
Control was extended not only to such physical systems as the monitoring of Soviet 
communications and nuclear installations or the climate patterns found in the Northern 
Hemisphere; it extended to human systems as well. Such systems might include political 
institutions, demography, economic resources and production, and international patterns 
of public opinion. Observation and control, fundamental to all scientific approaches to 
knowledge, were fundamental to the Cold War's institutional history. In this sense, 
science became a thoroughly Cold War epistemology. Without the Cold War, the raison 
d'etre for what became known as "Cold War science" would have disappeared. The 
massive production of knowledge for the expansion of systems of international control 
would never have flowered in the first place. '*'^ 

The formal distinction between scientific research and the development of technology 
became blurred. This was so mainly because of the institutional linkages between public 
and private sectors that connected the state with corporate interests. The distinction was 
lost in the flow of publicly financed knowledge between civilian and military research 
programs. The technological transition of the mid-1980s, "Star Wars," and other 
quintessential Cold War science/defense projects suggested the path of change over the 
century. The high-tech defense systems were symbolic of the transition from the 
industrial systems of a machine civilization to the more quantified and electronic 
civilization that began to emerge during the 1960s and 1970s. The postmodern economy 
of service and information-based wealth, the very meaning of the post-Cold War's digital 
economy, was the logical production of the technocratic epistemologies of the Cold 

As noted, the American Cold War produced a scientific and engineering culture that 
would ultimately transcend the international political rivalry between the superpowers. In 
a cosmopolitan culture that worshiped and imagined the future on a daily basis, the 
technocratic script that drove invention tried to enact the future within the confines of the 

^Leslie, The Cold War and American Science, 233-56. 

For the fusion of national security and information science, see Richard L. Kugler and Ellen 
L. Frost, eds.. The Global Century: Globalization and National Security, vols. 1 & 2 (Washington, 
DC: National Defense University, 2001). 


The Orthodox Cold War 

present. As the country moved through decades of nuclear standoff and international 
competition with its rivals, the cultural products of the American Cold War revealed 
much about the internal dynamics of the nation as a collective script. The science fiction 
of Star Trek, Star Wars, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, among others, suggested the 
intentions of the metascript within American society. America, as the redeemer nation, 
continued to triumph over evil in most of the fantasies created by Hollywood. That 
triumph was true and repetitive whether that evil was represented by the mythical Darth 
Vader or the Klingon Empire. The genesis of American victory was always a balancing 
of ingenuity with the technological dimension, as in the post-Cold War Independence 
Day. The rivalry between American science and its liberal culture was always an 
important theme in movies, television, and other art forms. The tension between the 
technocratic requirements of control, scientific precision, and order always had to be 
balanced in American Cold War mythology with the equal desire of Americans for 
autonomy and liberty within a technocratic state.'"' 

The international political history of the Cold War paralleled simultaneous other Cold 
Wars. Those were the Cold Wars in science, technology, and culture. On one level, the 
long rivalry of Soviet, American, and Chinese nation-states showed intense regional 
competitions for influence. Western and communist political and military powers 
confronted one another through the crises and proxy wars of Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, 
Cuba, Eastern Europe, Central America, the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Africa. Power 
relationships and political ideology reverberated from the Cold War capitals of the 
advanced countries through the expanses of desert, bush, forests, and mountains that 
compose much of the Third World and the earth's surface. On other levels, however. 
Cold War politics, the dynamic interior of nations and regions struggling with conflict — 
ethnic, religious, and ideological — remained in the background. Political interiors were 
overshadowed by the race to scientific and technological achievements. 

On a technocratic level, the Cold War involved rival production systems for managing 
technocratic phenomena. In each society, as the Cold War progressed, technology 
developed original systems for the management of environments. Computers, satellites, 
and sophisticated professional languages based upon different branches of mathematics 
worked to control economic and social systems, resources, and transportation and 
communication networks. They also worked to manage advanced military and 
intelligence systems of the highest order. On one level, the "space race" juxtaposed the 

Jay Goulding, Empire, Aliens, and Conquest: A Critique of American Ideology in Star Trek 
and Other Science Fiction Adventures (Toronto: Sisyphus Press, 1985); Taylor Harrison, ed., 
Enterprise Zones: Critical Positions on Star Trek (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996); David 
Seed, American Science Fiction and the Cold War: Literature and Film (Chicago: Fitzroy 
Dearborn, 1999); Susan M. Matarese, American Foreign Policy and the Utopian Imagination 
(Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001); Sharona Ben-Tov, The Artificial Paradise: 
Science Fiction and American Reality (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995); Gary 
Westfahl, ed.. Space and Beyond: The Frontier Theme in Science Fiction (Westport, CT: 
Greenwood Press, 2000). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

military prowess of the United States with that of the Soviet Union. On another level, it 
was a contest for the production of the technocratic. The launching of Sputnik in 1957 
shook the foundations of American society, creating a level of anxiety heretofore 
unknown. Indeed, the space race was a contest, if ultimately only a symbolic one, for the 
domination of technocratic knowledge. ''^'' 

I have termed it a symbolic contest because retrospectively it may have been a vast 
chimera created by mistaken beliefs in the efficacy of socialism as a form of political 
economy. Therefore, the historical claim of genuine competition between the United 
States and the Soviet Union for the creation of the new technocratic civilization was 
perhaps nonexistent. Through enormous effort, the Soviets were able to compete with the 
West in the production of military technology until virtually the end of the Cold War."' 
However, science and technology under liberalism were vastly more creative, innovative, 
and expansive than under the state socialism of the Soviet bloc. The bureaucratic 
structures of state socialism could never hope to match the effective production and 
innovation of new technologies that liberal market-oriented societies are capable of. The 
liberal technocratic script allowed institutions to shape agendas in all the sciences, 
including, as a number of recent scholarly works have explored, the social sciences. 
Liberal science, unlike its socialist counterpart, provided the range of dissent and 
independence that allowed many scientists, including social scientists, to challenge 
existing paradigms and, in the private sector, to develop new technologies in response to 
the seamless flow of economic information that markets provide. The market's triumph 
over socialist dogma would be slow coming. Even at the end of the Cold War itself in the 
1980s, with capitalism's preeminent performance in any number of fields — from service- 
oriented industries such as finance and retail to scientific industries such as 
pharmaceuticals, precision instruments, and electronic data processing — its legitimacy 
remained less than universal. The beliefs of both Marxist-Leninists and European social 
democrats inspired a condescending attitude toward capitalism and the idea of markets in 
any form. Yet, as the economic history of the last two centuries has shown, the liberal 
script did and very much still does allow for intellectual freedom (albeit a form of 

Robert A. Divine, The Sputnik Challenge (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993); 
Eugene Cernan, The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America's Race in 
Space (New Yoric: St. Martin's Press, 1999); Siddiqi, Challenge to Apollo; David H. DeVorkin, 
Science with a Vengeance: How the Military Created the U.S. Space Sciences after World War II 
(New York: Springer, 1992); Paul B. Stares, The Militarization of Space: U.S. Policy, 1945-1984 
(Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1985); McDougall, The Heavens and the Earth, 234-97. 

Library of Congress, Soviet Space Programs: Organization, Plans, Goals, and International 
Implications, Stajf Report Prepared for the Use of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space 
Sciences, United States Senate (Washington, DC: GPO, 1962); U.S. Department of Defense, Soviet 
Strategic and Space Programs (Washington, DC: GPO, 1990); Thomas B. Cochran, Making the 
Russian Bomb: From Stalin to Yeltsin (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2001), 31-51; Christoph 
Bluth, Soviet Strategic Arms Policy before SALT (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 


The Orthodox Cold War 

cognitive liberty with institutional boundaries), which was the very basis for the 
expansion of prosperity. 

The Beginning of the Orthodox Phase: The Children of Light 

Once more let us return to the beginning of the Cold War at the end of the Second 
World War. All over Eastern Europe and the Soviet occupation zone in Germany, 
communist movements loyal to the international and under the direction of the Soviet 
party began to establish regimes. "The children of light," to adopt the term the Protestant 
theologian Reinhold Niebuhr used to describe liberal democracy at the end of the Second 
World War, faced the surviving totalitarian regimes of Europe. '*^^ 

The orthodox Cold War began in the very last months of the Second World War as 
Europe and Germany were formally and informally divided between the West and the 
Soviets. It ended sometime in the mid-1960s when the orthodox view of the world came 
under challenge. After the Cuban Missile Crisis and before Johnson's 1965 press 
conference speech, the Soviet-American relationship began to change. In American 
terms, the orthodox period began and was bounded by the fear of communism and a third 
world war and ended with the beginning of the Vietnam antiwar movement, the Sino- 
Soviet split, and the nuclear test ban treaty of 1963. The culture and the script turned with 
the counterculture and the rest of the phenomena of the late 1960s and early 1970s, 
bringing the domino theory and the House Un-American Activities Committee to 
ignominious ends. Yet, all of this was later. In the first years of the Cold War, the Soviet 
threat was nearly all that mattered. "*" 

In the orthodox period, America continued its war preparedness, mobilizing national 
resources for civil defense and a global war that would contain both conventional and 
nuclear components. The psychological dimensions of orthodoxy were as Earnest May 
described them in his study of historical memory and international history. May 
suggested that the country looked at the Soviets as the successor to the Third Reich. From 
the Truman administration through the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, the 
institutional structure of American national security expanded horizontally and vertically. 
The extent of expansion was defined by the Cold War agenda. From the late 1940s to the 
early 1960s, the country was prepared, psychologically and politically, to return to war 

"^^^ Reinhold Niebuhr, The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness: A Vindication of 
Democracy and a Critique of Its Traditional Defence (New York: Scribner's, 1945). 

Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon (New York: Random House, 1941); Melvyn P. Lejfler, 
The Specter of Communism: The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1917-1953 (New 
York: Hill & Wang, 1994); Richard Gid Powers, Not without Honor: The History of American 
Anticommunism (New York: Free Press, 1995); David Callahan, Dangerous Capabilities: Paul 
Nitze and the Cold War (New York: Harper & Row, 1990); Lisle A. Rose, The Cold War Comes to 
Main Street: America in 1950 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1999); Frances Stonor 
Saunders, Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War (London: Granta Books, 
1999); Kenneth D. Rose, One Nation Underground: The Fallout Shelter in American Culture (New 
York: New York University Press, 2001); Robin, The Making of the Cold War Enemy. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

once more to defeat a totalitarian adversary. By necessity, the containment strategy 
required a global plan for the implementation of a highly integrated political-military- 
economic-scientific program for the expansion of American power. In political terms, the 
patterns of American behavior were quite consistent. American diplomacy supported 
virtually all regimes publicly opposed to communism, irrespective of their internal 
policies. The orthodox pattern of continuous and unequivocal support to right-wing 
regimes carried well beyond the first period of the Cold War. In fact, with few 
exceptions, support of political allies, no matter how hypocritical and corrupt the policy, 
was a rule that rarely was broken. 

Since communism was seen as an insidious global movement, political and military 
support was arranged both publicly and covertly. The Central Intelligence Agency, 
founded immediately after the war with the 1947 National Security Act, was instrumental 
in support of antidemocratic movements everywhere within the purview of American 
influence. The agency supported authoritarian anticommunist movements in Japan and 
the rest of East Asia, as well as in Latin America and Europe. Under executive authority, 
CIA operatives sponsored coups in Iran, Ghana, Guatemala, Iraq, and elsewhere. The 
CIA supported authoritarian regimes in every region of the world, without significant 
qualms about democratic rights. The orthodox Cold War may be distinguished from the 
later periods of the conflict by the unquestioning obedience of American public opinion 
to the anticommunist policies of the state. Although leftists throughout Latin America 
were outraged in the extreme by the CIA-sponsored coup against the duly elected 
government of Guatemala in 1954, American public opinion was deluded into believing 
the theory that the coup leaders, a seedy group of CIA operatives, were actually freedom 
fighters opposing communist tyranny. The use of authoritarian regimes to serve 
American strategic interests was well defined and unchallenged during the orthodox 
period, if only because of the cloud of self-righteousness that enveloped a society 
dominated by its own tightly woven propaganda culture. '*^'* 

That said, provocative as it may sound to some readers, the redeemer nation was not 
naive about the Soviet Union or the international communist movement. The orthodox 
images of communism were extraordinarily dark. They portrayed a society of absolute 
evil, capable of extinguishing the most basic of human freedoms. This image, long 
doubted by American liberals before the end of the Cold War, became a truism during the 

''^''Richard Immerman, The CIA in Guatemala: The Foreign Policy of Intervention (Austin: 
University of Texas Press, 1982); Stephen Schlesinger and Stephen Kinzer, Bitter Fruit: The Story 
of the American Coup in Guatemala (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, Latin American Studies 
Center, 1999); Michael McClintock, State Terror and Popular Resistance in Guatemala (London: 
Zed Books, 1985); U.S. Congress, Report on the Guatemala Review of the House Permanent Select 
Committee on Intelligence (Washington, DC: GPO, 1997); Zachary Karabell, Architects of 
Intervention: The United States, the Third World, and the Cold War, 1946-1962 (Baton Rouge: 
Louisiana State University Press, 1999); Peter L. Hahn and Mary Ann Heiss, eds.. Empire and 
Revolution: The United States and the Third World since 1945 (Columbus: Ohio State University 
Press, 2001). 


The Orthodox Cold War 

post-Cold War period of revelations. It appeared that communism in most of its 
variations was largely totalitarian. In its extreme, communism was fully capable of mass 
persecutions, induced famines, and what can only be described as a form of genocide. 
Defending the free world, as the planners of the containment doctrine understood their 
mission, was a factually correct assessment of the situation, with the proviso that in the 
defense of liberal civilization, an even larger camp of the authoritarian anticommunist 
world was incorporated under the rubric of "free nations. "'^^^ 

During the orthodox period, opposing totalitarianism was an all-encompassing task. 
There was a defined symmetry in the early American Cold War that incorporated 
domestic and international responses to the new bipolar system. The national script 
maintained the Second World War's Judeo-Christian myth that good triumphs over evil; 
darkness and light were delineated clearly, as they were to Americans in previous 
confrontations with their adversaries. Within the strict dichotomy between the angels and 
Satan, a policy with diplomatic and strategic nuances could not be elucidated in public 
rhetoric. So, for example, all the presidential administrations of the orthodox period, from 
1945 to 1965, maintained diplomatic channels with the Soviet bloc, even when public 
opinion provided no rewards for doing so. Even though Stalin and Mao were responsible 
for tens of millions of dead, and were as doctrinaire in their anti-Americanism as 
Americans were in their anticommunism, the operative diplomacy of the United States 
was multifaceted and multilateral. The extreme "rollback" doctrines that were tied to the 
far right in American politics would never gain the political legitimacy needed to enact 
the "liberation" of the communists from themselves. In all the policies of the period, a 
balance always had to be struck within the American state between competing domestic 
constituencies. "*" 

In the end, political interests and ideology had to be reconciled through the 
mechanisms of the script. It was fine for the Eisenhower administration to arrange a 
twenty-one-gun salute in Washington, a ticker-tape parade in New York City, and 
honorary degrees from Fordham and Columbia for Castillo Armas, handpicked leader of 
the CIA for the staged Guatemalan revolution, even if the government knew he was just 
what he was, a stooge. It was also ideologically consistent and rational for John F. 
Kennedy to pronounce the praetorian regimes of Latin America as "free" or Vietnam 
under the Ngo family to be an integral part of the "free world. ""*" Principles that were 

''^^Powers, Not without Honor; Acheson, Present at the Creation, 373-80; James D. Burnham, 
Containment or Liberation? An Inquiry into the Aims of United States Foreign Policy (New York: 
J. Day, 1953). 

' Barry M. Goldwater, The Conscience of a Conservative (Shepherdsville, KY: Victor, 1960) 
and Why Not Victory?; Curtis E. LeMay, America Is in Danger (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 
1968); David Reisman and Nathan Glazer, "The Intellectuals and the Discontented Classes, " in 
Daniel Bell, ed., Radical Right (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2002), 150—59; 
Cumings, The Roaring of the Cataract, 79-121. 

' Immerman, The CIA in Guatemala, 180; John F. Kennedy, "Annual Message to the 
Congress on the State of the Union," January 14, 1963, in Public Papers of the Presidents, 1963 
(Washington, DC: GPO, 1964), 11-19. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

dear to Woodrow Wilson were less dear to many of his successors who were more 
willing to sacrifice high ideals for instrumental gains. Yet, this was what the national 
script required leaders to do. It was always necessary to behave in a contradictory manner 
if the political dynamics of any situation called for it. National scripts opposed one 
another in the Cold War, fed by centuries of internal development. The Western and 
American metascript met the Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and hundreds of other 
scripts in the constellation of narratives that define the contemporary international 
system. It would take a working out of those script mechanisms related to communism, 
anticommunism, modernization, and Westernization to bring the world fully along the 
path of development to a post-Cold War world in which the whole concept of political 
ideologies and international relations was open to question or redefinition. 

Orthodox Ideologies: Modes of Understanding 

In the foreign policy system of any large nation-state, different roles are acquired in 
the management of diplomacy. There have always been distinct political, military, and 
economic considerations, and different roles support the separate interests of the state in 
each area. Naturally, diplomats tend to view the international system in terms of political 
motives and interests. Their interpretations have lent themselves to questions of 
international law, the terms and tone of political relationships between sovereign states, 
and the political consequences, domestic and international, of the use of force in any 
crisis. In contrast, professional soldiers in any branch of the armed forces view national 
interests principally in strategic terms. They understand international relations as military 
realists. The military view or ideology supported the balance-of-power perspective and 
the objective determination of national interests reflected in strategic security 
considerations. From the military's Cold War perspective, the country's vital interests 
were indeed global and strategic — and the use of force, when in support of the 
containment structure or in any engagement, had to be decisive. "^^^ 

Generals and diplomats, by virtue of their separate cultures and roles, contributed 
three particular modes of understanding to American foreign relations. Political realism 
appraised national interest in strict realist political terms. From this perspective, the 
political costs of any foreign policy must be weighed against long-term political benefits. 
George Ball, the most famous dissenter over the ground war in Vietnam, was a classic 
political realist. He was critical of the military perspective of the orthodox period, which 
viewed conflict with the communist world as inevitable and necessary, and which sought 
to use force in what he considered dangerous and excessive ways. He was also critical of 

Defending the Free World, 12-13; Jacques Van Doom, "Ideology and the 
Military, " in Morris Janowitz and Jacques van Doom, eds.. On Military Ideology (Rotterdam: 
Rotterdam University Press, 1971), xv-xxix; Jack Snyder, The Ideology of the Offensive: Military 
Decision Making and the Disasters of 1914 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1984); Harry G. 
Summers, On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 
1984); Nathan Twining, Neither Liberty nor Safety: A Hard Look at U.S. Military Policy and 
Strategy (New York: Holt, Rhinehart & Winston, 1966). 


The Orthodox Cold War 

neo-Wilsonian programs that combined altruism with a Keynesian mission to transform 
the world through foreign aid. Finally, as we will discuss, he was critical of the 
technocrats who balanced political and military intervention without a critical 
understanding of the cost and risk involved. Ball's realism was similar to the thinking of 
George Kennan, Walter Lippmann, and Hans Morgenthau, who also viewed Vietnam, 
and the Cold War in general, as an international political conflict in which the use of 
force was dangerous, and political resources needed to be husbanded to protect well- 
defined national interests."*^' 

The other political perspective, which we may term Wilsonian or neo-Wilsonian, 
departs from political realism on the fundamental question of national interest. Woodrow 
Wilson and his spiritual descendants in American foreign affairs had a broad, progressive 
vision of American national interest. Whereas political and military realists were loath to 
define America's mission beyond its demonstrable strategic, political, and economic 
interests, Wilsonians were more than willing to define America's mission as global and 
coterminous with the democratization of the world. This mission was to be achieved 
through the support of democratic movements, but also through the active support of 
economic and public infrastructure development to make democracy possible. This did 
not mean that neo-Wilsonians were opposed to the use of force. Although neo-Wilsonian 
ideology, whose exemplars were Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, and William 
Proxmire, among others, viewed the use of force as a negative response to the failure of 
political negotiation within the context of international law, neo-Wilsonians were still 
ready to pursue military options. Some Wilsonian-oriented diplomats, such as Dean 
Rusk, supported the Vietnam War with passion (as he did the Korean War), but did so 
within the context of Wilsonian foreign policy objectives. John F. Kennedy was a 
distinctly Wilsonian figure in American foreign relations. He blocked military action 
against the Soviets throughout his presidency, including during the Berlin Crisis of 1961- 
1962 and the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. Nonetheless, he expanded the idea of 
containment doctrine by formally incorporating worldwide "counterinsurgency" 
operations into the containment system."" 

In their perspectives and actions in world affairs, Truman and Eisenhower may not be 
considered strictly Wilsonian. However, the human mind has always been capable of 
holding and using multiple perspectives to comprehend reality. Truman's life script 
contained a host of experiences, from ancestral memories of the Civil War and 
nineteenth-century Midwestern culture to his roles in public life. He was an officer during 
the First World War, a U.S. senator during the Second World War, and then finally 

Schwab, Defending the Free World, 11-13; George W. Ball, The Past Has Another Pattern: 
Memoirs (New York: Norton, 1982); James A. Bill, George Ball: Behind the Scenes in U.S. Foreign 
Policy (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997); Hans J. Morgenthau, Vietnam and the 
United States (Washington, DC: Public Affairs Press 1965), 38-49, and Truth and Power: Essays 
of a Decade, 1960-70 (New York: Praeger, 1970), 398-431; George F. Kennan, Around the 
Cragged Hill: A Personal and Political Philosophy (New York: Norton, 1993), 180-231. 
*'" Schwab, Defending the Free World, 158-59, 174-75. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

became president of the United States just weeks after he was sworn in as vice president 
during the last months of the conflict. Like his predecessors and all of his successors in 
the twentieth century, Truman carried the progressive legacy of Woodrow Wilson into 
office. At the same time, his commitment to internationalism was tempered by the 
military and political realism imparted by war."*^' 

Likewise, D wight D. Eisenhower carried multiple perspectives into office as well. In 
addition to his military career, he too was an inheritor of American culture. When 
Eisenhower assumed the presidency at age sixty-three, he had lived around the world, 
exposed to the cultures of East Asia and Europe. Most recently, he had served as 
president of a major East Coast university. What made him a Wilsonian at the height of 
the Cold War in the 1950s was his commitment to economic development and the United 
Nations as a world body. To a degree, this is what he had inherited from Harry Truman 
and Franklin Roosevelt. A greater inheritance, however, was the impetus of American 
civilization in the twentieth century. From the end of the Second World War, feeding and 
clothing the world and supporting the rule of law had guided the American script like an 
arrow. Paradoxically, the script also called for a repudiation of Wilsonianism, through 
both open and covert support for antidemocratic regimes. The contradiction of 
simultaneous support for authoritarian anticommunism and the promotion of liberal 
culture created a wellspring of anti-Americanism around the world. However, the 
collective script of a nation-state is always a compromise. It is a synchronization of other 
collective narratives, and this often requires paradoxical choices in public policy. 
Successive American administrations promoted democracy and economic liberalism in 
Latin America, the Middle East, and East Asia. At the very same time, the United States 
trained police and military forces to crush resistance movements and to support the 
praetorian and personalist rule of American allies such as the Somozas in Nicaragua, 
Papa Doc in Haiti, Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, and Ngo Dinh Diem in South 

Despite these contradictions in American policy, there were distinct Wilsonian aspects 
in both Truman and Eisenhower."*" Extensive foreign aid programs in the 1940s and 

' Leffler, Preponderance of Power, 448-93; Acheson, Present at the Creation, 729-34; Paul G. 
Pierpaoli Jr., Truman and Korea: The Political Culture of the Early Cold War (Columbia: 
University of Missouri Press, 1999), 16-81; Shawn J. Parry-Giles, The Rhetorical Presidency, 
Propaganda, and the Cold War, 1945-1955 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002); Sara L. Sale, The 
Shaping of Containment: Harry S. Truman, the National Security Council, and the Cold War (Saint 
James, NY: Brandywine Press, 1998); David McCullough, Truman (New York: Simon & Schuster, 
1992), 723-923. 

'Blanche Weisen Cook, The Declassified Eisenhower (New York: Penguin Books, 1984), 218- 
92; Michael R. Hall, Sugar and Power in the Dominican Republic: Eisenhower, Kennedy, and the 
Trujillos (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000), 86-103; Richard E. Welch Jr., Response to 
Revolution: The United States and the Cuban Revolution, 1959-1961 (Chapel Hill: University of 
North Carolina Press, 1985), 64-100; Karabell, Architects of Intervention, 62-135. 

*^^Alonzo Hamby, Man of the People: A Life of Harry Truman (New York: Oxford, 1995), 398- 
401; Frank K. Kelly, Harry Truman and the Human Family (Santa Barbara, CA: Capra Press, 


The Orthodox Cold War 

1950s for the Third World focused on economic development and national independence, 
even when other aspects of American aid supported conventional military operations. 
Eisenhower was taken, notably, by the poverty he saw in what is now called the Third 
World. He believed it was imperative, from both a moral and global strategic perspective, 
that relief be brought to remote rural villages that did not have schools, clean running 
water, electricity, or access to modern medicine. Without such aid, he believed that 
communism would sweep through those areas of the world. In doing so, the communists 
would render moot the larger questions of containment that involved nuclear weapons 
and force deployments in Europe. Both the Truman and Eisenhower administrations 
pursued the expansion of international law and international institutions devoted to global 
development, decolonization, and democracy.'*^'* Their Wilsonianism, however, like that 
of all Cold War presidencies, was tempered by equally prolific support of a revolution in 
weaponry and the development of military forces everywhere in the "free world," in 
addition to extensive political and economic support for the most repressive 
anticommunist regimes. As noted, it was Eisenhower who honored the leader of the CIA- 
sponsored coup against the democratic government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 
1954, and who also honored Ngo Dinh Diem, the CIA-installed dictator of the 
"Republic" of Vietnam. It was Harry Truman and Dean Acheson who supported the 
authoritarian South Korean government in its fight for survival during the Korean War. It 
was also Harry Truman's administration that let tens of thousands of Nazis escape after 
the Second World War in exchange for their information on communist movements in 
Eastern Europe as well as use of their various scientific and military skills.^ '* 

1998); Steve Neal, Harry and Ike: The Partnership That Remade the Postwar World (New York: 
Scribner, 2001), 83-84; Robert R. Bowie, Waging Peace: How Eisenhower Shaped an Enduring 
Cold War Strategy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 251-56; Caroline Pruden, 
Conditional Partners: Eisenhower, the United Nations, and the Search for a Permanent Peace 
(Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998), 16—36. 

William Adams Brown Jr., American Foreign Assistance (Washington, DC: Brookings 
Institution, 1953); Howard S. Ellis, The Economics of Freedom: The Progress and Future of Aid to 
Europe (New York: Harper, 1950); Sergei Y. Shenin, The United States and the Third World: The 
Origins of the Postwar Relations and the Point Four Program (1949-1953) (Commack, NY: Nova 
Science, 2000); Burton 1. Kaufman, Trade and Aid: Eisenhower's Foreign Economic Policy, 1953- 
1961 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1982); Chester J. Pach Jr., The Presidency of Dwight 
D. Eisenhower (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1991); Walter Krause, Economic 
Development: The Underdeveloped World and the American Interest (San Francisco: Wadsworth, 

^ Immerman, The CIA in Guatemala, 180; Cook, The Declassified Eisenhower, 286; William 
Conrad Gibbons, The U.S. Government and the Vietnam War: Executive and Legislative Roles and 
Relationships, 4 vols. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986-1994), 1:89; Linda Hunt, 
Secret Agenda: The United States Government, Nazi Scientists, and Project Paperclip, 1945 to 
1990 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991), 94-156; Christopher Simpson, Blowback: America's 
Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War (New York: Collier Books, 1989), 176-216. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Beyond the views of the mihtary realist, who understood international relations in 
strategic terms, and beyond the diplomatic perspectives of neo-Wilsonianism and 
political realism, the postwar national security regime created a fully independent 
technocratic perspective on world affairs. This intellectual modality, which has been 
discussed in relation to technocratic knowledge and the technocratic state, was required 
for the management of complex foreign policy. The technocratic script, imparted to all 
those responsible for the management of foreign policy, effected the coordination of the 
spectrum of political, military, economic, and moral interests within the institutions of the 
executive branch. This perspective or mode of understanding I have described as 
managerial or technocratic internationalism. Distinct from particular military or 
diplomatic foreign policy perspectives, the managerial ideology carried the managerial 
script for American foreign policy and, hence, the nation's script for its relations to the 
world. As we have seen, its fundamental origins were in response to the 
institutionalization of a proactive role for the United States in the international system. 

What had begun to emerge during the world wars and interwar period (1914-1945) as 
a technocratic ideology for international relations matured during the first phase of the 
Cold War into a coherent mode of understanding. The orthodox script developed both the 
concept and the physical reality of the national security establishment. The new 
institutional reality of the international Cold War affected the development of ideologies 
connected to the roles and knowledge (or epistemologies) for the national security 
system. By the early postwar period, four modes of understanding war, peace, 
international development, and human rights served as conceptual frameworks for 
American statecraft. They were the intellectual filters that statesmen, analysts, 
polemicists, legislators, soldiers, and admirals applied in their respective scripted 
consciousnesses and behaviors for the management of American foreign policy.'*'"' 

Each mode, or ideology, allowed its adopter to view the world with a particular 
cognitive and affective content. These modalities were not mutually exclusive. In 
practice, the human mind, fully capable of dealing with dichotomies, paradoxes, 
contradictions, and anomalies, uses a repertoire of perspectives to interpret and explain 
complex phenomena. In most Americans involved in foreign affairs during the Cold War, 
there existed a political realist, a Wilsonian, a technocrat, and a soldier or "military 
realist." In Harry Truman, for example, the soldier had no problem ordering the use of 
force. With some admonition to protect human life, he approved the atomic bombings of 
Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Without a great deal of agony, he accepted the military 
arguments for subjecting two Japanese cities to the superweapon. Yet, simultaneously, 
the Truman who approved total war against the enemy was also gravely concerned with 
the reconstruction of Japan as a democratic society. Using another mode of 
understanding, Truman's reconstruction policy toward both Japan and Germany focused 
not upon the military aspects of deterring their future aggression, but upon the 
development of nation-states that would abide by the rule of law and respect the 
constitutionally defined rights of their citizens. The spirit of Wilsonianism, itself a 

^^^Schwab, Defending the Free World, 13-14, 206-10. 


The Orthodox Cold War 

product of American social science and the redemptive mission of American 
Protestantism, was Truman's guide to the managerial framework for American 
internationalism. Admittedly, Truman had little to do with policy development for 
support of the United Nations, the Marshall Plan, NATO, and his own Point Four 
programs to aid the Third World. Yet, in the end, he endorsed this new approach in 
American foreign relations. '^^^ 

The managerial ideology found itself in the synthesis of interconnected military and 
political environments. It involved not only political and operational analysis but also 
included economic, strategic, psychological, and sociological factors within the overall 
assessment of foreign policy. We find the managerial mode of understanding most 
explicitly in planning documents. Military planning combined military realism with the 
technocratic, and political planning combined some form or combination of political 
realism/idealism with the technocratic; finally, the managerial mentality synthesized the 
elements of political, military, and technocratic (the quantitative disciplines) into a 
comprehensive and controlling ideology for foreign policy. President Truman was barely 
conscious of this new theoretical framework; he was a man of his time, from nineteenth- 
century rural Missouri. Nonetheless, the "national security discourse" realized itself in 
the bureaucratic analysis of the Pentagon and the analytical branches of the State 
Department and the intelligence service. With the passage of the legislation that 
established the postwar national security bureaucracy in the United States, war and war 
planning had now become a fully institutionalized, technocratic project for the 
management of the international system. NSC 68, famous as the blueprint for the 
containment program of the Truman and succeeding administrations, was essentially a 
planning document for a technocratic state. Military power, as the famous historical — 
almost iconic — document suggested, was connected directly to economic output, 
population size, and the political will to use force. ''^* With the emergence of a perceived 
aggressor in the Soviet Union, the discussions in the first months of 1950 revolved 
around the precise definition of the threat and the extent of America's response to it. The 
ambitious problems outlined in the text would be financed in a way reminiscent of 
America's total war mobilization in the 1940s. This time, however, contingency planning 
for a worldwide conventional war was complicated by the presence of the atomic 

''^^McCullough, Truman, 54-55, 453-61; Lejfler, Preponderance of Power, 174-79; Ninkovich, 
The Wilsonian Century, 145-82. 

Earnest May, ed., American Cold War Strategy: Interpreting NSC 68 (New York: Bedford 
Books, 1993); Fordham, Building the Cold War Consensus; Paul Nitze, From Hiroshima to 
Glasnost: At the Center of Decision: A Memoir (New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1989), 82-116; 
Callahan, Dangerous Capabilities, 92-152. 

S. David Broscious, "Longing for International Control, Banking on American Superiority: 
Harry S. Truman's Approach to Nuclear Weapons," in John Gaddis, ed., Cold War Statesmen 
Confront the Bomb: Nuclear Diplomacy since 1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

How much more complex and dangerous the world had become after Hiroshima and 
Nagasaki. The orthodox period of the Cold War required a massive national effort at war 
preparedness that would continue on indefinitely into the future. The neo-Wilsonian 
penchant for international law, the classic political realist view of diplomacy defined by 
the balance of power, and the Clausewitzian nationalism of the military's senior officer 
corps were now incorporated under the rubric of the managerial mode of perception and 
action. Managing the world through forward deployments of military forces and 
aggressive strategies for strategic alliance and economic and political development made 
the practice of global management coterminous with U.S. national security. Through 
decades of reiteration in planning and acculturation, the technocratic state would 
inculcate the idea of the new technocratic mission. Technocratic order had become the 
redemptive task for the nation-state. 

Technocratic Knowledge 

As we have seen, since the nineteenth century technocratic knowledge has followed 
an accelerated path of growth and differentiation. The decades prior to the First World 
War were very productive with respect to the creation of new disciplines for the 
development of bureaucratic and technical methods for the strategic assessment and 
management of the international system. Those emerging techniques were tested during 
the First World War and were refined during the interwar period and the Second World 
War. By the Second World War, the United States had highly developed systems in place 
for the technocratic management of the war, American society, and international 
relations. Indeed, the war had engendered a blossoming of knowledge related to the 
management of the international system. The war process had produced an explosion of 
fresh and creative knowledge with respect to postwar international planning. Initially 
under George Kennan, the containment theorist, diplomat, and later Cold War historian, 
the State Department's planning groups played a critical role in the postwar design of the 
international system. In the last years of the war and the first years of the postwar period, 
under Kennan's leadership, the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee (SWNCC) 
planned the postwar world along liberal technocratic lines. Kennan's immediate 
intellectual successors, including Paul Nitze and the whole group of analysts and officials 
brought together in 1949 and 1950, helped to produce the formal structure for postwar 
containment.'*"*" The epistemologies for the Cold War ranged far and wide over the 
surface of the earth, constructing hoped-for scenarios for the progress of democracy and 
the rule of law, and the establishment of collective defense against communist attempts at 

By necessity and by statutory law, the postwar American technocratic state developed 
technocratic knowledge. By statute, the new departments of State and Defense and the 

David Mayers, George Kennan and the Dilemmas of U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: Oxford 
University Press, 1988), 86-188; Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, 25-126, and The United 
States and the End of the Cold War, 18-46; Leffler, Preponderance of Power, 110-14, 266-311; 
Acheson, Present at the Creation, 371-401. 


The Orthodox Cold War 

intelligence agencies of the late 1940s were required to evaluate American foreign policy 
using the full breadth of scientific and public policy resources available. The clear 
necessity was established by the series of events beginning in the mid- and late 1940s 
and continuing to the Korean War in the early 1950s that created a significant national 
consensus for a global national defense. An international system that was defined by 
containment became the purview of policy scientists. The liberal technocratic order, 
whose most influential agents inside of the American state were the famous "wise men" 
of American foreign policy, compelled the creation of an international political economy 
that understood the exigencies of development in both Europe and its colonial and 
postcolonial regions."*"*' 

Leading national security figures, including the secretary of state. Dean Acheson; Paul 
Nitze, the author of NSC 68; Averrill Harriman, the U.S. ambassador to the Soviet 
Union; and, as noted above, George Kennan, previous Soviet ambassador and head of the 
policy planning department at State, saw the same problem. The critical basis for national 
survival in the postwar world required building liberal political economies that would 
engage in an ongoing flow of capital, goods, and labor and that would establish stable, 
increasingly productive, wealth-generating, efficient national economies committed to the 
survival of the "free world" as defined in the national security document. For liberalism 
to survive communism, as NSC 68 argued to Harry Truman, coordinated means were 
necessary to promote both collective defense and economic development throughout the 
containment perimeter and the underdeveloped world. At mid-century, the indices of 
national power and economic development were not very different from those used a 
hundred or more years earlier. The populations of the two opposing blocs, the Western 
alliance and the socialist camp, were divided fairly equally and represented in themselves 
a critical dimension of military and industrial strength. In addition to population, the 
more salient characteristics were the production of coal, steel, and rubber, not to mention 
wheat, corn, and other agricultural commodities. On the cusp of the nuclear age, nuclear 
weapons were not viewed as equal to the industrial characteristics of national strength. 

The institutions and epistemologies of the American Cold War were thoroughly 
synchronous. The production of knowledge included the new policy science of national 
security studies. Nuclear war doctrines, such as Herman Kahn's On Thermonuclear War, 
Henry Kissinger's Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, and Bernard Brodie's Strategy 
in the Missile Age, all were part of the new policy science for the new age. The 
militarization and globalization of the Cold War in the early 1950s mandated a profound 
binational exercise in the development of strategic force and programmed global 
economic and political influence. For policy institutes, namely, the Brookings Institution, 
and public policy consultants, such as the Rand Corporation, and major university centers 

'**'Hogan, A Cross of Iron, 315-418; Cumings, The Roaring of the Cataract, 35-180; Leffter, 
Preponderance of Power, 312-60; Gaddis, What We Now Know, 1-112, and Strategies of 
Containment, 89-197. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

dedicated to national-security-related research, such as MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and 
Berkeley, the production of technocratic knowledge was a seamless exercise.'*''^ 

The broad outlines of technocratic knowledge encompassed a huge tree of 
interconnected disciplines. The script called for the expansion of scientific and technical 
knowledge in all fields oriented toward the expression of global military power. Nuclear 
technology committed the two superpowers to a deadly serious arms race that within a 
little more than a decade had created weapons arsenals fully capable of ending human life 
on earth. Fission weapons were, by the Eisenhower administration, surpassed by 
thermonuclear fusion or "H" bombs, a thousand times more destructive. Bomber and 
artillery-based weapons developed during the Truman administration were augmented by 
the end of the Eisenhower years by ballistic missiles, either theater or the mid-range 
variety that the Soviets deployed in Cuba in 1962. The intercontinental types of 
doomsday assets that were placed in the American and Soviet heartlands of the 1960s 
were to be refined to become MIRVs in the 1970s. Finally, sea-based systems on 
submarines and the Strategic Defense Initiative of the 1980s were all logical 
developments from the orthodox script. The intellectual foundations for Armageddon 
were begun in the laboratories of the Second World War and were refined through the 
whole strategic culture of weapons-related nuclear physics in the United States and the 
Soviet Union. The impetus for the United States was to develop ballistic science, game 
theory, and the whole range of information technology and national security doctrines 
that two generations of graduate students and postgraduates learned at the elite 
institutions of the military and scientific establishment.'*''^ 

Brodie, Strategy in the Missile Age; Henry Kissinger, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy 
(New York: Harper, 1957); Herman Kahn, On Thermonuclear War. There has been a recent 
flowering of the literature on this subject; however, literature on the history of major American 
think tanks, as of this writing, remains somewhat undeveloped. No major study has been done on 
the Rand Corporation or the Brookings Institution. For a general institutional history of the 
Brookings Institution, see James Allen Smith, Brookings at Seventy-five (Washington, DC: 
Brookings Institution, 1991); Donald T. Critchlow, The Brookings Institution, 1916-1952: 
Expertise and the Public Interest in a Democratic Society (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University 
Press, 1985). For general think-tank literature, see Leslie, The Cold War and American Science; 
David M. Ricci, The Transformation of American Politics: The New Washington and the Rise of 
Think Tanks (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993); Donald E. Abelson, American Think- 
Tanks and Their Role in U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996); Diane Stone, 
Capturing the Political Imagination: Think-Tanks and the Policy Process (London: Frank Cass, 
1996); Donald E. Abelson, Do Think Tanks Matter? Assessing the Impact of Public Policy 
Institutes (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002). 

"* Scilla McLean, ed.. How Nuclear Weapons Decisions Are Made (London: MacMillan 1986); 
Kahn, On Thermonuclear War, 453-576; Herman Kahn, On Escalation: Metaphors and Scenarios 
(New York: Praeger, 1965); Barry R. Posen, Inadvertent Escalation: Conventional War and 
Nuclear Risks (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991); Stephen J. Cimbala, NATO Strategy 
and Nuclear Escalation (London: Pinter, 1989); Steven E. Miller, ed.. Strategy and Nuclear 
Deterrence: An International Security Reader (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984); 
Teresa Pelton Johnson and Steven E. Miller, eds., Russian Security after the Cold War: Seven 


The Orthodox Cold War 

Sociologists and political scientists studied communist societies in comparative and 
historical perspectives. They, with historians and "area specialists," developed detailed 
analyses of communist systems as they evolved through the postwar period. Economists 
studied communist and socialist economic systems, including the developing economies 
of the nascent postcolonial regimes of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The 
comparative study of Western, non-Western, and socialist/communist societies supported 
the new containment doctrine and its evolving subdiscipline, known by the 1960s as 
"counterinsurgency" warfare. In the study of the developing countries and communist 
systems, societies were examined as both living, historical systems and as objects of 
study for technocratic development or what was known as "nation-building." The new 
discipline included work on economic modernization in the developing world, techniques 
for propaganda, foreign intelligence, and other programs that were tools of the trade for 
national security intellectuals and administrators. In the last analysis. Cold War 
epistemology included all the technical and social science discourses related to the 

f • 444 

construction of contamment. 

Containment doctrine was such a totalizing concept of control that it became almost 
synonymous with America's relationship to the world. There were many cultural 
exchange programs during the 1950s, sponsored by public and private institutions. The 
programs included education, art, music, literary, scientific, commercial, and religious 
activities that engaged Americans with foreign peoples. These exchanges, like those of 
more formal government relations, were almost always framed within the context of 
containment ideology. America was always portrayed as a model for "emerging" or 
"new" independent countries around the world. Traditional culture, including dance, 
music, folk singing, and ceremonial art, was viewed as valued folk culture that needed to 
be protected in the process of modernization. Modernization could be capitalist and 
democratic, or it could be socialist or involve some form of modernity that was neither 
market-oriented nor communist.'*'** 

Views from Moscow (Washington, DC: Brassey's, 1994); Sean M. Lynn-Jones, Steven E. Miller, 
and Stephen Van Evera, eds., Soviet Military Policy: An International Security Reader (Cambridge, 
MA: MIT Press, 1989) and Nuclear Diplomacy and Crisis Management: An International Security 
Reader (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990). 

'''^Samuel P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies (New Haven, CT: Yale 
University Press, 1968), 1-92; Cumings, Parallax Visions, 173-204; Allan A. Needed, "Project 
Troy and the Cold War Annexation of the Social Sciences, " in Simpson, Universities and Empire, 
3-38; Robin, The Making of the Cold War Enemy, 19-71. 

^Trances Stonor Saunders, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and 
Letters (New York: Free Press, 2000); United States Advisory Commission on International 
Educational and Cultural Affairs, A Beacon of Hope: The Exchange-of-Persons Program: A 
Report (Washington, DC: GPO, 1963); Clarence W. Hunnicutt, ed., America's Emerging Role in 
Overseas Education (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University School of Education, 1962); Charles A. 
Thomson and Walter H. C. Laves, Cultural Relations and U.S. Foreign Policy (Bloomington: 
Indiana University Press, 1963). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Modernization theory had its antecedents in a century of social science. We saw the 
development of technocratic thought in the early twentieth century. Development, as 
understood by social scientists before and after the First World War, had to do with the 
approximation of Western society achieved by non-Western nations. Through the 
interwar period and the Second World War, development was seen as the process by 
which the backward or undeveloped achieved the technological and educational levels 
common to European societies. By the Cold War, a range of theories and methods had 
been developed in economics, sociology, anthropology, and political science to measure 
development. Development was viewed in historical terms, as Seymour Martin Lipset's 
Political Man exemplifies, but it was also viewed in terms of the new quantitative indices. 
By the 1960s, modernization had become a broad multidisciplinary concept for 
development studies that understood society's structures and functions historically, 
culturally, and, increasingly, through quantitative analysis."*'*^ 

In its versatility and in its scripted dimension, modernization also became a strategic 
concept deemed vital for national security policy. Successful modernization, as opposed 
to "failed" modernization, was an essential goal of the containment regimes of successive 
American presidents. For a country to experience successful modernization, according to 
the orthodox context of the American Cold War, meant that it must grow, develop, and 
expand in all areas of political, economic, and social development, to mirror the 
institutions and culture of the West. According to its many critics from the later 
revisionist period, modernization was a hopelessly ethnocentric concept. Nonetheless, the 
modernization concept was used analytically as well as descriptively by social scientists, 
including economists, anthropologists, political scientists, and sociologists. It was a 
concept implicit in American foreign policy from the earliest years of the Cold War, and 
it continued as an operating principle long after the fall of the Berlin Wall. 

The original concept of modernization was almost coterminous with democratic 
capitalism and Keynesian economics. Social scientists such as Walt Rostow, Daniel 
Lerner, David Apter, Samuel Huntington, Seymour Martin Lipset, A. F. Organski, and 
many others were all of the same generation and milieu."' They habitually worked on 
government intelligence projects, served in the Second World War or after in military 
and/or civilian roles, and advised national security institutions on policies related to 
anticommunism. In the case of Walt Rostow, he wrote Kennedy's basic national security 
doctrine in 1962 and was Lyndon Johnson's second national security adviser. He was 
also the leading proponent of the Keynesian modernization approach to the developing 

Seymour Martin Lipset, Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics (Garden City, NY: 
Doubleday Boolcs, 1960). 

*"lbid., 45-96; W. W. Rostow, The Process of Economic Growth (New York: Norton, 1952); 
David E. Apter, Politics of Modernization (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), 1-80, 
313-421; Daniel Lerner, The Passing of Traditional Society: Modernizing the Middle East 
(Glencoe, IL, Free Press, 1958), 43-75; A. F. Organski, The Stages of Political Development (New 
York: Knopf, 1965); Marion J. Levy, Modernization and the Structure of Societies: A Setting for 
International Affairs (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1969). 


The Orthodox Cold War 

world. In Rostow's copious writings, underdevelopment was a problem of insufficient 
capitalization. With enough foreign aid, capital would coalesce in the impoverished 
hinterlands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and the progressive expansion of the 
private sector would take off. Communism, a threat to every country everywhere, 
according to orthodox beliefs, would be thwarted by the capitalist-financed 
modernization of the entire Third World. "^'^^ 

For the two decades of the orthodox period and for some time afterward, the 
Keynesian modernization paradigm supported American foreign aid programs. Since 
public investment had clearly ended the depression and won the Second World War, and 
in the prosperous postwar era continued to extend the strength of liberal capitalism in the 
United States and also in Europe and East Asia, the normative script for American policy 
remained essentially unchanged. Truman, Eisenhower (with some qualification), 
Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and, to an extent, all American presidents until Ronald 
Reagan, saw the world in terms of a Keynesian program for modernization. Money 
transferred to the developing world could be used for schools, roads, hospitals, 
telecommunications, energy plants, agricultural assistance, and all manner of good works, 
to lay the foundations for modern liberal industrialized societies. Communism would be 
defeated, it seemed, almost like an exercise in common sense, by eliminating the "four 
horsemen of the apocalypse," as John F. Kennedy said in his inauguration, or establishing 
the "Four Freedoms," as Franklin Roosevelt stated as a corollary to the Atlantic Charter. 

However, liberal internationalism in the Cold War context was also an intellectual 
framework that emphasized military aid to the largest degree, even superseding aid for 
economic infrastructure, public health, and education. Development, as understood in the 
orthodox context, married economic assistance with military aid. The orthodox script 
justified foreign aid as an instrument linked directly to American national security. 
Scholars have viewed early post-World War II American foreign policy as an exercise in 
the externalization of the New Deal. This analogy holds, but must include the massive 
structure for military preparedness. In the first decades of the Cold War, the military's 
view dominated American Cold War consciousness. The ubiquitous militarism in early 
Cold War thought suggested the strict budgetary preferences of a state largely controlled 
by military institutions and allied private interests. Technocratic knowledge, in this 
context, became an instrument for those institutions closest to control of the state. 
Militarized technocratic knowledge then competed with the Keynesian model for Third 
World development and for shaping the American state and its foreign policy script.^" 

Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth, 4-58. 
* Richard Holt, The Reluctant Superpower: A History of America's Global Economic Reach 
(New York: Kodansha International, 1995); Robert A. Packenham, Liberal America and the Third 
World: Political Development Ideas in Foreign Aid and Social Science (Princeton, NJ: Princeton 
University Press, 1973), 25-58; David A. Baldwin, Economic Development and American Foreign 
Policy, 1943-62 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), 243-72; Vernon W. Ruttan, United 
States Development Assistance Policy: The Domestic Politics of Foreign Economic Aid 
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 33-102. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

The orthodox worldview skewed knowledge in the direction of technocracy, oriented 
toward the big science of the military. It was assumed that the entire world outside the 
United States was either under communist rule or was extremely vulnerable to its 
conquest or vassalage. This psychological climate quickly made the mandate for 
containment boundless. There were reasons, albeit not necessarily rational ones, for the 
country to deploy large contingents of its forces outside of North America. There were 
also reasons for developing ever larger, more destructive nuclear weapons and nuclear 
delivery systems. One could argue that it was precisely these reasons, articulated in 
technical monographs and developed by promilitary ideologues, that led to the orthodox 
period's end. The strategic expansionism vigorously advocated by the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff in the early 1960s, and reborn after the Vietnam War in the 1970s, called for a 
ground war in Vietnam. The script required the production of knowledge for the 
articulation of containment. In producing this knowledge, vast reservoirs of military and 
social scientific knowledge were created. Yet, when the intellectual framework supported 
what was politically insupportable, the framework's essential legitimacy collapsed.**'" 

Orthodox Containment 

Orthodox containment was bathed in the images of the Second World War. In the 
minds of the generation that supported containment's creation, the circumstances that led 
to the most significant American war since the Civil War became the imprimatur for the 
Cold War conflict. The intensity of emotional attachment and sense of danger felt in the 
construction of a global wall against communism reflected the particularly dark 
representation of Stalinism in Russia and Maoism in China and the threat they posed to 
human freedom. The collective sense of the betrayals by the Nazis at Munich and the 
Japanese at Pearl Harbor filled the memories of the generation that had experienced the 
war with its own eyes. 

Necessarily, American orthodoxy viewed the world in terms of the old script for 
appeasement. The treacheries of the Nazis and the Japanese militarists who brutalized 
soldiers and civilians in a global war inspired mistrust and vengeance toward any foreign 
enemy. The Soviets, seen as logical replacements for Hitler, were enveloped in the 
shroud of McCarthyist postwar fear and anger. Indeed, the fear that the Soviets produced 
in Americans was profound. ''^' There were suspicions that the Soviets had penetrated 
every aspect of American society. Communists were suspected to be in every corner of 
American life, quietly waiting for orders from the Kremlin. The depth of fear of domestic 
subversion extended very readily to the nuclear Cold War. It was assumed by many 
military analysts that the Soviets would use nuclear weapons at the earliest opportunity to 

Few observers or participants were in a better position to witness the collapse of orthodox 
containment than Henry Kissinger. Kissinger, White House Years, 195-311, and Years of 
Upheaval (Boston: Little, Brown, 1982), 302-73; Thornton, The Nixon-Kissinger Years, i-45. 

*''Trow, Right- Wing Radicalism and Political Intolerance, 60-84; Fried, Nightmare in Red, 
144-70; Heale, McCarthy's Americans, 214-76; Schrecker, Many Are the Crimes, 119-200; Rose, 
One Nation Underground, 38-77; Rose, The Cold War Comes to Main Street, 64-165. 


The Orthodox Cold War 

win a nuclear war against the United States. There was no inconsistency in Lyndon 
Johnson thoughts when, despite misgivings over the Vietnam War, despite massive 
reservations, he remained resolute in his decision not to appease the enemy and to place 
his entire presidential legacy at risk, for to give up on Vietnam would have fulfilled the 
deepest fear of the Pearl Harbor generation. '*^^ 

The potential for a global war was a condition of life for Americans in the mid- 
twentieth century. The culture and political discourse of the period reflected a distinct 
manly desire to preempt any attack by any adversary. There was not going to be another 
Pearl Harbor or a return to the appeasement of the Axis powers prior to the Second World 
War. In a militarized world, which the early Cold War world certainly was, the 
environment of foreign affairs, if not everyday life, inspired a very masculine tone in 
popular culture. GI crew cuts were popular in the 1950s, as were movies and personalities 
that typified the toughness of a man. A whole generation of war veterans understood 
power and manhood in American life in military terms. To compound matters, the nature 
of war in the nuclear age cast doubt on the very possibility of a future world. It was 
entirely possible, and Americans of this period weighed it on a daily basis, that 
contemporary everyday life would soon end in the fire of a nuclear holocaust. Hence, the 
orthodox script was tough, suspicious, potentially belligerent, and expansive toward the 
world and the perceived communist threat.""' 

Remarkably, despite the apocalyptic predictions of nuclear conflict and the deep sense 
of permanent war status that permeated foreign policy ideology, the national culture and 
the domestic life of the country remained vibrant and industrious. Suburban homes and 
large families were the norm, even with the country flirting with war and building bomb 
shelters. Despite the dire potential of thermonuclear conflagration and the deep paranoia 
imparted by McCarthy, there remained traditional energy and optimism in American life. 
The society dealt, albeit imperfectly, with the great domestic issues of race and poverty 
that affected mid-twentieth-century America. Race had long simmered in American 
politics as the country industrialized and matured. Then in the orthodox period of the 
Cold War, the modern civil rights movement was born in the wake of the liberal Warren 
court's decisions of the mid-1950s. The technocratic society that had prided itself not 
only on its scientific and technical achievements but on its commitment to democracy 
was challenged by its inherent and shameful contradictions on the civil rights of 
nonwhites. In this matter the script for the orthodox Cold War was deeply threatened. It 
would not long stand an assault from a mass protest movement that embarrassed the 

^^^Beschloss, Reaching for Glory, 181-82. 

Stephen J. Whitfield, The Culture of the Cold War (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 
1996), 1-51, 101-26; Ronnie D. Lipschutz, Cold War Fantasies: Film, Fiction, and Foreign Policy 
(Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001); M. Keith Booker, The Post-utopian Imagination: 
American Culture in the Long 1950s (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002), 101^1; Timothy 
Melley, Empire of Conspiracy: The Culture of Paranoia in Postwar America (Ithaca, NY: Cornell 
University Press, 2000), 1^5. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

country internationally, giving the Soviets the upper hand in the critical war for world 

IT • • 454 

public opinion. 

The American narrative for the Cold War was chastened by the growth of Soviet 
military power and the rise of Chinese communism as an independent threat all over 
Asia. American foreign policy feared the strategic threat posed by the Soviet rocket 
forces and conventional armies but also maintained an agenda for global and regional 
political economy. According to some American social scientists and national security 
analysts in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the economic components of containment 
would support the long-term viability of the entire containment system. The policy in 
question was the Marshall Plan, an ambitious attempt to restore the devastated nations of 
Central and Western Europe to prewar functional status. It would need to bring stable and 
prosperous economic conditions to a continent that had traumatized two generations with 
two horrific wars. For the Germans, the Marshall Plan was a means of rebuilding what 
had been utterly destroyed by the Allies in their war against Hitlerism. In France, the 
Marshall Plan was another way for the United States to assert its power and prestige in 
Europe. The Marshall Plan was formed less than two years after the war had ended. Its 
broad and imposing purpose was to finance the reconstruction of Western Europe — to 
bring back to Europe the development it had lost because of the destruction of the war. 
Congress supported the plan based upon the simple premise that rebuilding France and 
Germany and financing Great Britain, among other countries, was considered a vital 
interest of the United States. Marshall Plan aid to the recovering countries would be a 
very effective means of supporting the postwar free world. In postwar Europe and the 
vast areas of the Third World associated with Europe, the Marshall aid program 
represented a generous but necessary adjunct to the national security means applied by 
the United States. In the end, NATO and the entire framework for postwar industrial 
prosperity were tied to the success of the plan.^" 

The Marshall Plan 

To preserve the balance of power in Europe, the United States moved aggressively in 
the late 1940s to provide the food, fuel, and finance capital necessary to ensure the 
rebuilding of Western Europe. The nature of the objective was obvious, and it garnered 
wide support in the United States. The instrument of postwar reconstruction in Europe 
was the Marshall Plan, which supplied that needed American capital to rebuild the 

American Race Relations in the 
Global Arena (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001), 85-137; Mary L. Dudziak, Cold 
War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton 
University Press, 2000), 79-151. 

*"Hogan, The Marshall Plan, 26-53; Martin Schain, ed.. The Marshall Plan: Fifty Years After 
(New York: Palgrave, 2000); Gregory A. Fossedal, Our Finest Hour: Will Clayton, the Marshall 
Plan, and the Triumph of Democracy (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1993); Charles 
Kindleberger, Marshall Plan Days (Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1987); Alan Milward, The 
Reconstruction of Western Europe, 1945-1951 (London: Methuen, 1984), 1-55, 421-61. 


The Orthodox Cold War 

shattered economic systems of the great European powers. The liberal technocratic order 
required the integration of Europe and Japan to sustain a credible deterrent against the 
rival socialist system. The Europeans understood the need for American aid in significant 
quantities if the continent were to make a full and quick recovery from the massive 
destruction of the war. Given the perceived exigencies of the Stalinist threat to Western 
Europe, the plan named after General George C. Marshall had little trouble finding 
congressional support. '*''^ 

Over six years, principally 1947 through 1952, the Marshall Plan funneled money to 
restore the national and regional economies of those parts of Europe under the auspices of 
the United States and its allies. The reconstruction aid supported the technocratic 
modernization of Western Europe. In doing so, it combined the Wilsonian idea of 
humanitarian and technical assistance to war-ravaged countries and the corporatist or 
managerial internationalism of the private sector. The political coalition that underlay 
Roosevelt's foreign policy from the late 1930s onward served this part of the national 
script. The narrative for the Marshall Plan combined the political goals of major 
economic actors, labor unions, and multinational corporations. For both American labor 
unions and the highly capitalized brokerage firms, banks, and oil companies that favored 
the multilateralism of Roosevelt's liberal internationalist foreign policy, the Marshall 
Plan scripted a revitalized pro-American postwar Western Europe. The domestic 
coalition of disparate groups was made possible by a confluence of political and 
economic interests in postwar corporate/technocratic internationalism. Its intellectual 
premise was that a form of New Deal internationalism was not a weak alternative to a 
strong nationalist military policy. Rather, the multilateral stabilization and reconstruction 
program was considered the means for achieving a fundamental national interest in the 
development of democratic market-oriented countries in Western Europe.^" 

By the early 1950s, the Marshall Plan had achieved its objectives. Great Britain, 
France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and Norway had all 
recovered from the fundamental destructive effects of the war. Despite the growth of 
social democratic politics in postwar Western Europe, the essential open trading system 
had survived the cataclysm of the war. Large multinational corporations, which operated 
throughout Europe and indeed on every continent, were preserved as autonomous 
economic institutions. In this way, capitalism remained at the center of the liberal 
technocratic order rather than state institutions. The Marshall Plan served the strategic 
plan of the United States in providing the political and economic basis for the NATO 

*^^ Forrest Pogue, George C. Marshall, Statesman, 1945-1959 (New York: Viking, 1987), 237- 
57; Fossedal, Our Finest Hour, 235-80. 

'^Hogan, The Marshall Plan, 135-88; Hogan, A Cross of Iron, 69-118; Thomas Ferguson, 
Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven 
Political Systems (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 113-72; Ove Bjarnar and 
Matthias Kipping, "The Marshall Plan and the Transfer of U.S. Management Models to Europe, " 
in Matthias Kipping and Ove Bjarnar, eds.. The Americanization of European Business: The 
Marshall Plan and the Transfer of U.S. Management Models (New York: Routledge, 1998), 1-17. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

alliance and the integrated international market for American exports. By the 1960s, the 
tripartite containment system that connected North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim 
centered upon Japan, created an extraordinarily powerful global alliance against the 
intrigues of either Soviet or Chinese communism. 

Strategic Orthodoxy 

Fundamentally, the orthodox script required the bringing together of military systems 
and business systems. The defense of the liberal order, resplendent in its impressive 
growth and differentiation throughout the world, still required the comprehensive 
integration of the technocratic model. The strategic dimensions of global technocracy 
required the deliberate building of policies linked inextricably to both the politics and 
economic conditions of the core countries. In Europe, complementing the Marshall Plan's 
political economy was the strategic system of NATO. In Southeast Asia, in the wake of 
the collapse of French Indochina, the United States sponsored a parallel system in the 
Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO). Other defense alliances included 
ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, and the United States), the Central Asian Treaty 
Organization (CENTO), and the Rio pact that included most of Latin America and the 
United States in a collective defense treaty. These multilateral treaties were also 
reinforced by bilateral pacts. The United States had mutual defense arrangements with 
Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, among other countries, as well as presidential 
commitments to South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. This enormous global web of 
containment institutions comprised the orthodox period's system of collective defense. In 
the Soviet camp, the Warsaw Pact mobilized the Soviet Union and its Eastern European 
allies, while bilateral treaties, including the Sino-Soviet defense pact of 1950, extended 
Soviet commitments and military power around the world. "^'^ 

Strategic orthodoxy required the building of international strategic forces for the 
contingency of global or "general" war. NATO was at the heart of American strategic 
thinking throughout the Cold War. The long-standing view of Atlantic- or European- 
oriented thinkers in the State Department and elsewhere was that no holds should be 

^ Martin A. Smith, NATO in the First Decade after the Cold War (Boston: Kluwer Academic 
Publishers, 2000); Lawrence S. Kaplan, The United States and NATO: The Formative Years 
(Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1984), 93-144; Francis H. Heller and John R. Gillingham, 
eds., NATO: The Founding of the Atlantic Alliance and the Integration of Europe (New York: St. 
Martin's Press, 1992); Gustav Schmidt, ed., A History of NATO: The First Fifty Years, 3 vols. 
(New York: Palgrave, 2001), 2:305-57; William Park, Defending the West: A History of NATO 
(Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1986), 3-62; Don Cook, Forging the Alliance: NATO, 1945-1950 
(London: Seeker & Warburg, 1989); Leszek Buszynski, SEATO: The Failure of an Alliance 
Strategy (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 1983), 44—71; Magnus Persson, Great Britain, 
the United States, and the Security of the Middle East: The Formation of the Baghdad Pact (Lund, 
Sweden: Lund University Press, 1998), 240-304; Thomas-Durell Young, Australian, New Zealand, 
and United States Security Relations, 1951-1986 (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1992), 17-56; W. 
David Mclntyre, Background to the Anzus Pact: Policy-Making, Strategy, and Diplomacy, 1945- 
55 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995), 66-118. 


The Orthodox Cold War 

barred to maintain control of Germany and the rest of noncommunist Europe. To even 
suggest that the United States recognized Soviet interests in Western Europe meant to the 
national security establishment of the Cold War that the United States had in effect 
surrendered to the enemy. It was simply inconceivable to strategic analysts and statesmen 
that either side in the Cold War would lose or downgrade its position on the European 
continent. This was what made Berlin so critical an issue in the first decades of the Cold 
War. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, it became apparent that the American side viewed 
the Soviet gambit in Cuba as just that. The issues, as far as every member of the 
executive committee of the U.S. National Security Council was concerned, were the 
Soviets' worldwide intentions in the Cold War. Specifically, whether an attack on Cuba 
would result in a counterattack on Berlin, the vortex of the East-West conflict in 

The technocratic state supported the strategic architecture of containment with the 
institutional coordination of policy. Through the dozens of treaties and formal assistance 
plans that were part of its foreign policy portfolio, the national security structure designed 
a global system of command and control. Technocratic management of the Cold War 
required the global integration of all aspects of the containment policy, from nuclear arms 
to conventional deterrence, counterinsurgency, and the modernization programs targeted 
at the Third World. The issues that affected American foreign policy were under constant 
review and subject to immediate policy change. Consequently, the coordination of 
information from the White House down through the channels in the State Department, 
the Department of Defense, and the CIA remained a critical issue for the bureaucracy. 
The needs of the containment system changed with international conditions, and it was 
critical that the institutional machinery respond. A host of related activities needed to be 
coordinated through the domestic political system of the United States, the realm of 
diplomacy, and the domestic environments of allies and other countries. The efficacy of 
this process varied greatly from country to country. For example, the Guatemalan coup of 
1954 was sold effectively to the American public, while Latin American public opinion 
viewed it as yet another example of Yankee imperialism and the tragedy it entailed. 

Despite the construction of global containment and the emphasis on national defense, 
Eisenhower resisted efforts to enlarge the defense budget, which was at 10 percent of 
gross national product during most of the 1950s. Eisenhower's fiscal conservatism 
rejected an unlimited commitment of national resources to the Pentagon. The literature on 
Eisenhower suggests that his administration tried to "rationalize" the uncoordinated and 
clumsy Truman containment policy. Eisenhower defended the Pacific Rim not primarily 
with combat troops, as Truman and his successor Kennedy did, but with his nuclear 
deterrent. He refused to commit troops to Indochina in 1954 and did not appreciably 
expand ground force deployments in any of the world's other regions critical for 
containment. American troops were only briefly sent to the Middle East during the 

"Khrushchev's Grand Design," in Robert A. Divine, ed.. The Cuban Missile 
Crisis (New York: Marcus Weiner, 1988), 135-48; Zelikow and May, The Kennedy Tapes, 34, 61, 
90, 115. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Lebanon crisis of 1958. In Latin America, Eisenhower did not send troops to oust Castro 
in 1960. He did not deploy troops to Africa as independence beckoned. Only in the 
European sphere did Eisenhower commit substantial ground forces, as well as naval and 
air units. The broad treaty commitments that his secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, 
negotiated around the world were implicitly commitments the United States backed with 
its ever-growing nuclear deterrent. Eisenhower did not use his nuclear arsenal, nor 
apparently did he come as close as Kennedy to nuclear war, but his "massive response" 
strategy, a variation on classic Clausewitzian warfare doctrine, supported the eventual use 
of such weapons in a general war.""''^ 

As a soldier, Eisenhower naturally viewed the international system in terms of the 
strategic dimensions of power. Wherever technocratic science led military scientists was 
acceptable, provided that the results translated into effective deterrence for the 
preservation of the balance of power and the integrity of the nation-state. Thermonuclear 
devices capable of destroying entire conventional armies in a matter of seconds were the 
deterrents of choice for any military leader in the orthodox era. To maximize power, 
Eisenhower funded billion-dollar research and development programs on the production 
of nuclear weapons and the delivery of the required command and control systems. 
Popular culture romanticized the space age. Science writers in the 1950s suggested the 
possibility of colonizing Mars and Venus and building space colonies all over the solar 
system. Naturally, however, as news films showed the massive explosions of H-bombs, 
public consciousness filled with terror at the onset of the nuclear age. Yet the space age 
and the nuclear age were intimately related.^" For the purposes of manned space flight 
and the exploration of the solar system, popular perception was of secondary importance. 
Space exploration was a function of the rocket science and national security imperatives 
for nuclear war. Eisenhower and all of his successors understood this, as the technocratic 
institutions of the Cold War built the first systems that expanded the human domain 
outside the earth's atmosphere. 

Bowie, Waging Peace, 189; Saki Dockrill, Eisenhower's New-Look National Security 
Policy, 1953-61 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996), 65-71; John Burke, How Presidents Test 
Reality: Decisions on Vietnam 1954 and 1965 (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1989), 28- 
115; Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower: Soldier and President (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990); 
Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, 127-63. 

Tom D. Crouch, Aiming for the Stars: The Dreamers and Doers of the Space Age 
(Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1999); James H. Straubet, ed.. Space Weapons: A 
Handbook of Military Astronautics (New York: Praeger, 1959); Simon Ramo, ed., Peacetime Uses 
of Outer Space (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961); Willy Ley, ed., Harnessing Space (New York: 
Macmillan, 1963); U.S. Senate, Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, United States 
International Space Programs: Texts of Executive Agreements, Memoranda of Understanding, and 
Other International Arrangements, 1959-1965; stajf report (Washington, DC: GPO, 1965). 


The Orthodox Cold War 

Technocratic Science 

A major arena of the orthodox Cold War was born in 1957. The first manmade object, 
no more than four feet in length, circled the earth. Sputnik shocked the American public 
and the Eisenhower administration. The ability of the Soviets to show their technical 
superiority in the critical field of aeronautical engineering mortified a country that feared 
that it was surrounded in the world by subversive revolutionary forces and that there 
remained the danger of military conquests by the communists and their leftist allies. 
Perhaps in the long run the most important pillar of the technocratic blueprint for the 
Cold War was found in the enormous and successful effort devoted to the exploration of 
near space. In the scientific projects required for the first generation of manned and 
unmanned space exploration, the satellites and the space rockets demonstrated not only 
the depth of competition between the Soviet Union and the United States, but the 
essential nature of the East-West conflict. The 1957 Sputnik launch was vastly more 
important for its impact upon the relative prestige of the Soviet Union and the United 
States than for the practical value of sending such objects into space. Its immediate 
legacy in the United States was a general reexamination of the military and civilian 
institutions and their comparative readiness to meet the perceived Soviet threat.'*''^ 

Clearly, the beginning of the space age was a critical and important element in the 
development of the postwar technocratic script. The program to explore outer space 
propelled scientific and quantitative forms of knowledge to a vastly greater level of 
importance. The simple launching into near-earth orbit of a hundred-pound, four-foot 
metal object with a radio transmitter was to reorient the United States toward the 
exigencies of the technocratic nuclear age. It was Sputnik, with its intimations of 
American national inferiority in intellectual disciplines, that touched off a concerted 
frenzy to expand science education in the United States. The script called for the 
supremacy of the United States vis-a-vis all of its potential adversaries. Supremacy was 
upheld, not by greatly improving American education, but through the comparative 
advantages of American science and industry over their Soviet counterparts. Science 
education was geared toward the elites who sent their children to college to learn 
astrophysics and engineering. The average American student, even with the enrichment 
of his or her curriculum provided by the new education money, was not motivated to 
become a particle physicist or an aerospace engineer. What did happen was a technocratic 
response by the state and the corporate sector to continue and accelerate the scientific 
programs born during the Cold War."*" 

Divine, The Sputnik Challenge, 157-84; Paul Dickson, Sputnik: The Shock of the Century 
(New York: Walker, 2001), 108-33; David L. Snead, The Gaither Committee, Eisenhower, and the 
Cold War (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1999), 129-95. 

Barbara Barksdale Clowse, Brainpower for the Cold War: The Sputnik Crisis and National 
Defense Education Act of 1958 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981); Hugh Davis Graham and 
Nancy Diamond, The Rise of American Research Universities: Elites and Challengers in the 
Postwar Era (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), 1-50; Simpson, Universities and 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

In the long run, despite Kennedy's campaign rlietoric in 1960, the Russians were 
expected to lose. A powerful nation-state could not survive without a coherent economic 
strategy. There was no substantive reality to the statement by Nikita Khrushchev in 1960, 
"We will bury you." The Soviet Union could not bury the United States if it could not 
take care of itself. '*^'* 

Crises in the Orthodox Period 

From an institutional perspective, the orthodox script involved the impressive 
development of technocratic knowledge and institutions. Beyond that level of analysis, 
there were also the crises of the orthodox period. The recurring crises, proxy wars, and 
superpower confrontations were the dramas that established the political boundaries, 
collective memories, and meanings for the orthodox period. Certainly, what focused the 
Cold War in all its periods were the various international crises. They tested the resolve 
of the crisis participants in light of the potential for danger and, most darkly, nuclear 
apocalypse. The crises were legion: Berlin in 1948-1949, the Korean War in 1950, the 
Taiwan Straits in the mid-1950s, Hungary and Suez in 1956, Berlin again in the late 
1950s and early 1960s, Indochina in the early and mid-1950s and then again in the 1960s. 
Finally, the most deadly crisis of all was Cuba in October 1962. All were elaborate and 
very serious but nonetheless scripted dramas. The actors — namely, nation-states, national 
leaders, their advisers, the international media, and the mass publics of national and 
international opinion — engaged in often intense and focused examinations of perceptions 
and threats. With each momentous and quite often dangerous script, the actors reinforced 
their respective worldviews but often learned some critical information about the other 
side that would eventually move the orthodox metascript to resolution.^" 

Empire; Allen A. Nydell, Science, Cold War and the American State: Lloyd V. Berkner and the 
Balance of Professional Ideals (Amsterdam: Marston, 2000). 

Paul R. Gregory, Russian and Soviet Economic Structure and Performance (Boston: 
Addison-Wesley, 2001); Abram Bergson, Planning and Performance in Socialist Economies: The 
USSR and Eastern Europe (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989); Robert W. Campbell, The Failure of 
Soviet Economic Planning: System, Performance, Reform (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 
1992); Gerald K. Haines and Robert E. Leggett, eds., CIA's Analysis of the Soviet Union, 1947- 
1991: A Documentary Collection (Washington, DC: CIA, 2001). 

*''^ Richard K. Betts, Soldiers, Statesmen, and Cold War Crises (New York: Columbia University 
Press, 1991); Richard J. Aldrich, Gary D. Rawnsley, and Ming-Yeh T. Pawns, eds.. The 
Clandestine Cold War in Asia, 1945-65: Western Intelligence, Propaganda and Special Operations 
(London: Frank Cass, 2000); Raymond Tanter, Modelling and Managing International Conflicts: 
The Berlin Crises (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1974); Robert Jervis, The Logic of Images in 
International Relations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1970) and Perception and 
Misperception in International Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976); Robert 
Jervis, ed., Psychology and Deterrence (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985); 
Richard Ned Lebow, Between War and Peace: The Nature of International Crisis (Baltimore: Johns 
Hopkins University Press, 1981). 


The Orthodox Cold War 

By resolution, I mean the transition of the script to the next stage. The terms of the 
conflict changed because the orthodox script lost its legitimacy. The revisionist script 
defined the new tone of the Cold War. In the revisionist period, the meaning of the global 
conflict was no longer explicit but subject to critical examination and intellectual 
ambiguity. Orthodox ideology and institutional structures remained, but the script had 
changed. As we shall see, a number of events in the early 1960s forced the change. The 
experience of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the seeming illogic of the early intervention 
period in Vietnam, combined with the Sino-Soviet split and the signing of the strategic 
test ban treaty, were the nexus of events that ended the rationale for the orthodox script. 
American intervention in Vietnam was the final stroke. When, on the floor of the senate 
in 1965, U.S. senators debated America's intervention in Vietnam, the orthodox period 
had moved to closure. Finally, after the anti-Vietnam War movement gained critical 
mass within the American public and in the U.S. Congress, the orthodox period of the 
Cold War was truly over.'*^'' 

The East Asian Crises: Korea 

The orthodox script did two things extremely well. First, it reoriented American 
society toward the political and social conformity it demanded. This was accomplished 
through the McCarthyist practices of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Even with 
McCarthy's censure and departure from politics, the domestic arrangements for imposing 
legal, institutional, and cultural controls continued through other means. Second, the 
programmatic actions of all the presidential administrations during the orthodox period 
built and stabilized the containment system, using economic expertise and capital 
funding, intelligence and covert operations, and the military strength of an expanding 
armed forces to support U.S. strategic interests. Nonetheless, but as one could expect, the 
orthodox script struggled with crises everywhere in the world. In Europe and in East Asia 
in particular, crises were related to the development and stabilization of the containment 

The Korean War was the definitive crisis of the Truman presidency, effectively 
ending Harry Truman's political career by precluding a second term. The Berlin Crisis of 
1948-1949 challenged American and British resolve to control Germany in the postwar 
period. Resisting Stalin's move against Berlin was not a politically hard decision. 
Clearly, all sectors of American and British public opinion, with outlying exceptions, 
viewed Berlin and Germany as a vital interest of the free world. Earlier crises involving 
Greece and Turkey and the stabilization of France and Italy, in the immediate postwar 

Defending the Free World, 204-10; DeBenedetti and Chatfield, An American 
Ordeal; William C. Berman, William J. Fulbright and the Vietnam War: The Dissent of a Political 
Realist (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1988); Chomsky, American Power and the New 
Mandarins; David Farber, Chicago '68 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988); James J. 
Farrell, The Spirit of the Sixties: Making Postwar Radicalism (New York: Routledge, 1997). 

*"Lejfler, Preponderance of Power, 312-60; Ojfner, Another Such Victory: President Truman 
and the Cold War, 1945-1953 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002), 185-244. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

period, were also of comparatively little divisiveness. The point in the Truman presidency 
that tested the orthodox script for the redeemer nation was the surprise invasion of South 
Korea across the forty-seventh parallel by the North Korean army in June 1950.'*^^ 

Prior to the attack by communist forces. South Korea was not assessed as a vital 
strategic interest of the United States. The Joint Chiefs of Staff had made this assessment 
since the late 1940s in their reports to the defense community and the White House. From 
a military perspective, U.S. strategic interests in the support of the American defense 
perimeter in East Asia did not include the Korean peninsula. South Korea simply was not 
a critical area that merited the deployment of large-scale forces. The American and 
British press, including the New York Times, interpreted Dean Acheson's views as 
consistent with the military assessment. In speeches given in January and February 1950, 
in effect detailing the architecture of national security in NSC 68, the public was given 
the erroneous perception that the Republic of Korea was not a vital interest of the United 
States. In the technocratic organization of American foreign policy for East Asia, the 
Asian "rim," from Japan down through the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, and French 
Indochina, was a vital interest. Overall, the rim was one cohesive economic and political 
unit. Building the rim would contain the core, which now, as of October 1949 and the 
Chinese revolution, was under communist domination.""' 

This cold strategic calculation, however, missed the public significance of a 
communist army overrunning a small outpost in the free world. The Cold War's orthodox 
script had adapted the heroic narrative of the Second World War. As the North Korean 
army drove the hapless South Korean defense forces south toward the end of their 
peninsula, Truman and Acheson and the Joint Chiefs of Staff quickly moved to block a 
communist victory. Korea was instantly identified as a vital interest and outpost of 
freedom. MacArthur landed his army at Inchon and quickly cut off the supply lines to the 
aggressive communist army laying siege to Korean and American forces fighting 
desperately to defend the small remaining enclave that they controlled in the southeast 
portion of country. MacArthur' s brilliant strategy forced the North Korean army's 
collapse and hasty retreat north above the thirty-eighth parallel. By October 1950, 
MacArthur' s army was driving the communists to the Chinese frontier. It was then that 
MacArthur and the Truman administration parted company. 

''^^Cumings, The Roaring of the Cataract, 545-631; Richard C. Thornton, Odd Man Out: 
Truman, Stalin, Mao, and the Origin of the Korean War (Washington, DC: Brassey's, 2000), 185- 
246; Brian Catchpole, The Korean War (New York: Carroll & Graff, 2000), 3-17; Patrick C. Roe, 
The Dragon Strikes: China and the Korean War, June-December 1950 (Novato, CA: Presidio 
Press, 2000); Korean Institute of Military History, The Korean War, 3 vols. (Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 2000-2001), 1:156-218; William Stueck, The Korean War: An International 
History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), 31-61; Offner, Another Such Victory, 

*'''' Cumings, The Roaring of the Cataract, 58-65, 408-38; Stueck, The Korean War, 42-44; 
Sergei N. Goncharov, John W. Lewis, and Xue Litai, Uncertain Partners: Stalin, Mao, and the 
Korean War (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1993), 130-67 


The Orthodox Cold War 

MacArthur, as Korean War historiography relates, wanted to "roll back" the 
communists by having the authority to pursue them into North Korea, irrespective of 
communist Chinese or Soviet actions and perceptions of American strategy. To counter 
any threat from China, he wanted the authority to use tactical nuclear weapons along the 
Chinese frontier. MacArthur' s presumptive strategy was thoroughly Clausewitzian. He 
wanted to maintain the initiative and to execute a war strategy that would not only 
damage the enemy but seek its annihilation. The strategy of total war was nothing new. It 
was the same type of war that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had pursued during the Second 
World War, the same strategy that Hitler's Wehrmacht had used on two fronts, and what 
the Red Army and the British bomber command had pursued in their attacks on the 
Reich. Total war in the twentieth century, according to the precepts of strategic or 
military or Clausewitzian realism, was the preferred orientation not only of Douglas 
MacArthur but of most military officers in the U.S. armed forces in the first two decades 
of the Cold War. Even after Vietnam and after the Cold War, the "Powell doctrine" that 
guided the 1991 Gulf War was the use of overwhelming force against an enemy to 
achieve particular political objectives. MacArthur followed his military script right up to 
the Yalu River, and then, without the nuclear weapons he wanted, he was thrown back 
across the thirty -eighth parallel by a massive force of Chinese troops. "'^'^ 

Ultimately, the general was relieved of his command by the internationalists, who 
quite rightly saw danger of a third world war in the right-wing nationalist approach of 
their celebrated war hero. Matthew Ridgeway assumed command of United Nations 
forces on the peninsula and through equally brilliant leadership stabilized the ugly war 
near the dividing line of the two postwar occupation zones. Truman and Acheson held the 
line there with their allies, negotiating relentlessly for two years with the communists to 
achieve a settlement. It took the threat of nuclear weapons by the Eisenhower 
administration to finally bring the Korean War to a permanent armistice. The war ended 
in the first months of the new administration, and the 1954 Geneva conference, which 
also resolved, at least temporarily, the Indochina conflict, ratified its settlement."' 

Soviet and Chinese Scripts 

The Soviet and Chinese scripts vis-a-vis the Korean War connected to the United 
States only in the context of the capitalist adversary defending its Pacific defense 
perimeter. Archival evidence shows that both Stalin and Mao approved of the North 
Korean attack on South Korea in June 1950.*" Both communist powers feared the North 

^ Roe, The Dragon Strikes, 141-225; Stueck, The Korean War, 85-166; Goncharov, Lewis, 
andLitai, Uncertain Partners, 168-202. 

' Acheson, Present at the Creation, 461-77; Stueck, The Korean War, 308-70; Kathryn 
Weathersby, "Stalin, Mao, and the End of the Korean War, " in Odd Arne Westad, ed.. Brothers in 
Arms: The Rise and Fall of the Sino-Soviet Alliance (Washington, DC: Stanford, 1998), 90-117. 

'Weathersby, "Stalin, Mao and the End of the Korean War, " 92; Katherine Weathersby, "To 
Attack or Not to Attack? Stalin, Kim II Sung and the Prelude to War, " Cold War International 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

American colossus and viewed the reunification of Korea as a strengthening of their 
defense lines against the enemy whose nuclear and conventional forces projected its 
power around the world. Both communist states were engaged in the reconstruction of 
their war -ravaged societies, and they wanted the West to have fewer assets in its apparent 
drive to encircle and strangle them. To both Stalin and Mao, totalitarian leaders with 
idiosyncratic methods and beliefs, the Korean War was a mixture of opportunity and 
romantic defense of their homelands. The personalist rule each man had created extended 
patronage systems built on mutual webs of self-interest between different power blocs. 
Their particular forms of communist ideology were integral to their respective rules and 
to millions of followers who had deep and consuming passions for those ideologies. "*^^ 

At the moment of history when the Korean War began in 1950, the Soviets and the 
Chinese were allies against the common foe of the United States and the rest of the 
Western community of liberal states. The West and the United States connected to the 
Chinese and Soviets in the global contest between them. Clearly, the dream of proletarian 
internationalism, in which the West would crumble under the feet of angry workers 
around the colonial and postcolonial world, was a vision that Mao and Stalin retained for 
socialism. They hoped that the capitalists would collapse under the heat of socialism, 
activated at the heart of the industrial metropolises of the great Western powers. In this 
context, Korea was a test of socialism. It was a challenge for the West's ruling coalitions 
in their strategic quests for survival. Stalin, who made the Soviet state in his image, and 
Mao, who was to do the same for the Chinese communist state, could only have viewed 
the Korean War as a place to tie down the expansionist Americans and defeat them. It 
would be a place to demoralize them and force them to come to terms with the victory of 
the communists on the Asian mainland."^ 

The Korean Script 

Korea was divided between the leftist procommunist and rightist pro-Western 
factions. At the very end of the Second World War, as the Japanese prepared to 
surrender, the Korean peninsula was divided along the forty-seventh parallel by the 
United States and the Soviet Union. That division became the ideological and political 
division between the right and the left in Korean society. Each side dominated one part of 
the peninsula under the auspices of its occupying power. Kim II Sung viewed the Korean 
conflict as entirely peripheral to the Cold War. Although he was dedicated to the global 
objectives of the Soviet-led international communist movement, the liberation of Korea 

History Project Bulletin 5 (Spring 1995): 1-9; Stueck, The Korean War, 31; Goncharov, Lewis, 
andLitai, Uncertain Partners, 137. 

'' Alfred J. Reiber, "Stalin: Man of the Borderlands, " American Historical Review 106, no. 5 
(February 2002): 1651-91; Shu Guang Zhang, Mao's Military Romanticism: China and the 
Korean War, 1950-1953 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995), 12-16; Michael M. Sheng, 
Battling Western Imperialism: Mao, Stalin and the United States (Princeton, NJ: Princeton 
University Press, 1997), 161-86. 

' Zhang, Mao's Military Romanticism, 55-88. 


The Orthodox Cold War 

after centuries of foreign domination was liis essential goal. From the cultural perspective 
of Korean nationalism, the exigencies of Korean national liberation had little to do with 
the international Cold War. Although the Soviets provided the hardware, and later the 
Chinese provided troops as well as jets and pilots, the war aim for the Korean 
communists was to reunite a nation that had lost its sovereignty to Japan some forty years 
earlier. ""^^ Korean communists had no use for capitalism or for foreigners of any kind on 
Korean soil. For Koreans, the center of the world was Korea. As with so many other 
insular cultures, traditional Korean belief held Korean civilization to be unique and 
exceptional. The Korean War pitted the Americans and South Koreans against an 
indigenous people who would fight as hard as the Russians during the siege of Stalingrad 
or the Jews in the Israeli war for independence. Despite the horrific punishment they 
absorbed from the U.S. and South Korean forces, the North Koreans survived with the 
backing of China and the Soviet Union.'"' 

Koreans, as the Korean War scholar Bruce Cumings has observed, have a cultural 
myth about the wisdom of a society being invested in one charismatic leader. With Kim II 
Sung having that mantle, Koreans were ready to obey him wherever his leadership took 
them. Divided after the 1953 armistice, the two Koreas led fully separate and utterly 
antagonistic lives as rival nation-states. American sponsorship provided the Republic of 
Korea with the same benefits of military and civilian aid as it provided the other front- 
line anticommunist regimes in the eastern Pacific. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the 
Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand all received generous American 
economic and military support throughout the period of the orthodox Cold War. The 
Korean sponsorship, however, lasted for the entirety of the Cold War and continued into 
the post-Cold War era."*" 

North Korea's sponsors, in contrast, largely deserted the country after 1990. The 
Soviets, of course, were bankrupt and could no longer aid a declining Stalinist regime in 
its far west region. The Chinese, no longer committed to the socialism practiced in that 
country, were loath to support such a repressive anti-Western regime that knew nothing 
of the outside world. The Koreans had started and indeed were the victims of their own 
national war. However, some fifty years after the war ended inconclusively, Koreans 
remained divided in a particular nationalist Korean script. It was not possible for the 

^^USC-UCLA Joint East Asian Studies Center, Treaty of Annexation, August 22, 1910, East 
Asian Documents,; Cumings, Liberation 
and the Emergence of Separate Regimes. 

' Cumings, The Roaring of the Cataract, 666-707; Kevin Mahoney, Formidable Enemies: The 
North Korean and Chinese Soldier in the Korean War (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 2001), 1-28; 
Stueck, The Korean War, 167-203; Thornton, Odd Man Out, 348-79. 

"^Jong-Sup Lee and Uk Heo, The U.S.-South Korean Alliance, 1961-1988: Free-Riding or 
Bargaining? (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2002); Kim Jung-Ik, The Future of the U.S.- 
Republic of Korea Military Relationship (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996); Richard T. Detrio, 
Strategic Partners: South Korea and the United States (Washington, DC: National Defense 
University; 1989); Jonathan D. Pollack and Young Koo Cha, A New Alliance for the Next 
Century: The Future of U.S. -Korean Security Cooperation (Santa Monica, CA: Rand, 1996). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

West, no matter how perceptive, to revise the script for the Koreas as they struggled with 
the possibilities of national reunification. The South Korean script, as it evolved in the 
orthodox period, was to modernize along Western lines, accepting the protection of the 
United States. An authoritarian market regime, dominated by large industrial 
conglomerates, progressed with the material assistance and military umbrella of every 
American administration. Whereas at the beginning of the Cold War the Korean 
peninsula was of doubtful value to the strategic defense of the West, its primacy became 
apparent only when the North Koreans, with the advice and support of their giant 
communist allies, attempted to reunify the country on the North's own terms. Then South 
Korea became not only an ally but also a strategic partner of incomparable worth. '^'^ 


The enormity of the American commitment to South Korea and Taiwan as well as 
Japan made the commitment to Indochina after the French defeat and withdrawal an 
absolute given. This commitment gained significance from the end of the Second World 
War on into the 1950s and 1960s, ultimately creating the confluence of interests and 
foreign policy disasters that turned the script and ended the orthodox era. In the literature, 
there are two explanations for the geostrategic significance of French Indochina to the 
United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The East Asian political economy 
explanation understands the region as vital to the economic revival of Japan. The liberal 
technocratic order required French Indochina's rice as well as Indonesia's oil and rubber. 
It also needed the potential markets of the Philippines, Indochina, Thailand, and 
Indonesia (then the Dutch East Indies) to restore Japan to the economic, political, and 
military asset it had the potential to be for the free world in Asia. The second explanation 
focuses on France and its importance to the construction of a rearmed and integrated 
Western European community. The loss of Indochina, from this Atlanticist perspective, 
would weaken the French just when the West needed a recovered France to defend 
Central Europe from Soviet encroachment. Both explanations make sense.""' 

In the end, the domino theory incorporated Indochina, and so the vital importance of 
the region to U.S. national security was a given. The United States spent billions of 

Cumings, The Roaring of the Cataract, 625-65; Bruce Cumings, Korea's Place in the Sun: A 
Modern History (New York: Norton, 1997), 299-393; Robert J. Myers, Korea in the Cross 
Currents: A Century of Struggle and the Crisis of Reunification (New York: Palgrave, 2001), 97- 

' William J. Duiker, U.S. Containment Policy and the Conflict in Indochina (Stanford, CA: 
Stanford University Press, 1994), 88-172; Andrew J. Rotter, The Path to Vietnam: Origins of the 
American Commitment to Southeast Asia (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1987), 165-203; 
William S. Borden, The Pacific Alliance: United States Foreign Economic Policy and Japanese 
Trade Recovery, 1947-1955 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984), 191-222; Schaller, 
The American Occupation of Japan; Gary R. Hess, The United States' Emergence as a Southeast 
Asian Power, 1940-1950 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987), 159-215; Gibbons, The 
U.S. Government and the Vietnam War, 1:71-119. 


The Orthodox Cold War 

dollars supporting the French effort. When the French failed, their forces trapped at Dien 
Bien Phu, Eisenhower refused to supply the military force, either conventional or tactical 
nuclear, to save the French garrison. This led directly to the withdrawal of France from 
one of its most prized colonial possessions. From the point of view of the domino theory, 
this was a disaster. Nonetheless, the United States did not abandon Indochina, but 
installed pro-Western anticommunist regimes in all three countries of the region. The 
1954 Geneva conference on Indochina and Korea divided Vietnam into halves. The 
southern zone was the successor regime to the Republic of Vietnam. The northern zone 
became the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, under the leadership of Vietnam's most 
charismatic leader. Ho Chi Minh.'*^" 

The origins of the Vietnam War were in the technocratic view of the Indochina War. 
The dimensions of the American commitment were found in its first strategic analysis of 
Indochina. National security analysts in the Pentagon, the State Department, and the 
National Security Council studied Indochina with immense interest. In numerous national 
security documents from the early and mid-1950s they concluded that the region was 
indeed an essential linchpin to contain Sino-Soviet power in Asia. Aid to the French was 
based on that strategic assessment. However, when, after eight years of warfare, the 
French had their backs against the wall at the battle of Dien Bien Phu, Eisenhower 
refused a rescue. A commitment to keep French forces in Indochina would have required 
American troops, and this Eisenhower refused to approve. It was more important that 
France withdraw from Indochina and support the development of NATO than to try to 
hold an untenable position ten thousand miles away. Ho Chi Minh and his organization, 
the Viet Minh, were only suspected of being communists when Eisenhower pulled out. It 
was known that they received aid from China and the Soviet Union, but Ho had not 
Stalinized his regime when the French lost the war in 1954. In fact. Ho had long been 
known by American policy makers to be the most popular Vietnamese nationalist leader. 
Congressional debate over American intervention centered on the idea of an "anticolonial 
struggle" in Indochina as late as spring 1954."' 

Nonetheless, the American commitment to French Indochina was based upon the 
assumption that indeed the Viet Minh were communists, and that all measures needed to 
be taken to replace the French administration with a nationalist but anticommunist 
Vietnamese republic. With the signing of the Geneva Accords of 1954, the Eisenhower 
administration acted in proactive fashion. Eisenhower sent a contingent of military and 
civilian advisers to South Vietnam to help build a country that was tottering on the verge 

Gibbons, The U.S. Government and the Vietnam War, 1:250-59; James Cable, The Geneva 
Conference of 1954 on Indochina (Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 1999); Robert F. Randle, Geneva 
1954: The Settlement of the Indochinese War (Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1969), 
428-81; Duiker, U.S. Containment Policy, 173-93. 

Gibbons, The U.S. Government and the Vietnam War, 1:89, 203-7; William J. Duiker, Ho 
Chi Minh (New York: Hyperion, 2000); Melanie Billings-Yun, Decision against War: Eisenhower 
and Dien Bien Phu, 1954 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988); Bernard B. Fall, Hell in a 
Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1967). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

of dissolution. The CIA was instrumental in bringing Ngo Dinh Diem to power in 
Vietnam. Once Diem had stabilized the political situation in the south, the United States 
proceeded to embark upon a huge foreign aid program. Some two billion dollars in aid, 
an extraordinary sum, was sent to Diem between 1954 and 1963. His country needed to 
be built from the ground up. With respect to building the containment system, the pockets 
of the United States were very deep indeed. The complete modernization of South 
Vietnam became a fundamental project for American foreign policy, from the mid-1950s 
to the height of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s. "^^^ 


The Chinese revolution was a seminal moment in the history of the Cold War, 
twentieth-century Chinese and East Asian history, and in American international history. 
Since the nineteenth century, the Chinese nation-state had been a permanent interest of 
the United States. In European history, the allure of China began in the Middle Ages with 
Marco Polo and expanded after the sixteenth century with Europe's formal trade and 
colonial ties to the region. The sheer size of the Chinese population, a quarter of the 
world's population, invited dreams of Western penetration and dominance. The size of 
such a country was unfathomable. It was the world's largest nation-state, so huge and yet 
so backward. When the communists finally prevailed in October 1949, the size of the 
Stalinist domain, by population, more than doubled in size. With China in the hands of 
Mao, the Soviet threat was far more pressing, at least in the eyes of American policy 
makers who viewed the communist victory with fear.^" 

Yet, the monolithic concept of communism ignored China as a nation unto itself. The 
intense nationalism that China had experienced since the nineteenth century was as great 
as that of any other modern nation. Chinese nationalism was imbued with modernity's 
worship of the nation-state. The Chinese script, situated in a dynastic history of some 
three thousand years and the Confucian philosophy of two thousand years, ran its course 
in the twentieth century. In China's extraordinary history as a civilization, Chinese 
technology, art, philosophy, and other accoutrements of success rivaled all that any 
European civilization had produced. As a great power, the Chinese Song dynasty was the 
most advanced in the world in the Western year 1000. Likely, the same was true of China 
at the time of Columbus. Yet, for reasons related to the insularity of its culture and 
empire, China declined in relative terms from the 1500s onward. The Manchus conquered 

Schwab, Defending the Free World, 9-25; Gibbons, The U.S. Government and the Vietnam 
War, 1:311-20 and 4:53-66; John Ernst, Forging a Fateful Alliance: Michigan State University 
and the Vietnam War (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1998), 1-20; Douglas C. 
Dacy, Foreign Aid, War, and Economic Development: South Vietnam, 1955-1975 (New York: 
Cambridge University Press, 1986), 192—239. 

China was seen as an instrument of Soviet power. See Joint Chiefs of Staff, "Review of the 
Current World Situation and Ability of the Forces Being Maintained to Meet United Sates 
Commitments, " Washington, January 1951, FRUS, 1951, vol. 1, National Security Affairs, Foreign 
Economic Policy (Washington, DC: GPO, 1979), 62-81. 


The Orthodox Cold War 

it in 1644, and it was never to be considered a great power again, at least until the last 
years of the second millennium.'*^'* 

Dominated by foreigners since the seventeenth century and by Europeans from the 
mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries, the Chinese had fought a horrific war 
against the Japanese before the destruction of Japan at the hands of the Americans in 
1945. In the wake of the Japanese war, the struggle between Chinese nationalists and 
communists returned. Previously, the death of imperial China in 1911 and the birth of a 
unified Chinese Republic under Sun Yat-sen led to the long struggle between the 
nationalists and the communists for sovereignty over the motherland. With the support of 
the people and the effective organizing techniques of communist movements around the 
world, Mao was quite effective at fighting his way south to Canton and Shanghai. Chiang 
Kai-shek and his Kuomintang army could not hold a single inch of the mainland with the 
Red Army penetrating every village and rural redoubt. However, as we know, the war 
between the anticommunist Chinese and the Maoists did not end when the communists 
finally seized all of mainland China. The nationalists, as fanatical in their beliefs as 
Mao's lieutenants, went to their own redoubt on the island of Taiwan. In exile, as the 
orthodox Cold War continued on, Chiang pondered his ability to return to the mainland 
and finish the war. What happened was another story entirely."**' 

In the end, the Chinese communists worried Truman and the redeemer nation 
immensely. Before Chinese forces penetrated the Korean peninsula in the fall of 1950, 
the country was seen as a growing menace. When Mao's forces surprised the Americans 
by crossing the Yalu and attacking the U.S. troops, scattering the American forces until 
General Matthew Ridgeway assumed command, the fear of China grew overnight. 
Deferring the use of nuclear weapons, Truman brought the war quickly to a stalemate. 
The problem for Truman remained what to do with the immensely huge and 
impoverished region that seemed incapable of self-government. The communists had 
now expanded their reach to the far sides of the earth. The possibilities of new communist 

John King Fairbank, China: A New History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 
1998); Jonathan D. Spence, The Search for Modern China (New York: Norton, 1999), 231, andThe 
Chan's Great Continent: China in Western Minds (New York: Norton, 1998). 

^Michael Hunt, The Genesis of Chinese Communist Foreign Policy (New York: Columbia 
University Press, 1996), 159-200; Odd Ame Westad, Cold War and Revolution: Soviet- American 
Rivalry and the Origins of the Chinese Civil War, 1944-1946 (New York: Columbia University 
Press, 1993), 140-64; Suzanne Pepper Civil War in China: The Political Struggle, 1945-1949 
(Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), 385-431; Arif Dirlik, The Origins of Chinese 
Communism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989); Gregor Benton, Mountain Fires: The Red 
Army's Three- Year War in South China, 1934-1938 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 
1992); Stephen Uhalley Jr., A History of the Chinese Communist Party (Stanford, CA: Hoover 
Institution Press, 1988), 55-90; Benjamin Yang, From Revolution to Politics: Chinese Communists 
on the Long March (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1990); Shum Kui-Kwong, The Chinese 
Communists' Road to Power: The Anti-Japanese National United Front, 1935-1945 (New York: 
Oxford University Press, 1988); Marcia R. Ristaino, China's Art of Revolution: The Mobilization 
of Discontent, 1927 and 1928 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1987). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

conquests throughout East and Southeast Asia, in addition to the Indian subcontinent and 
the Middle East, deeply troubled a president committed to the satisfactory containment 
and perhaps taming of international communism. By all accounts, the Chinese 
communists were not "paper tigers," but absolutely ruthless in their application of 
Marxist-Leninist doctrine.''** 

Eisenhower's experience with China was similar. He would not budge when faced 
with Chinese threats over the occupation of its offshore islands. In the mid-1950s he was 
advised to use nuclear weapons against such a recalcitrant foe. Yet, he refused the 
recommendation of the Joint Chiefs to use nuclear weapons in case of betrayal. The 
potential loss of millions of people did not disturb the Chinese leaders, as the country had 
lost so many millions in famines of the past. Eisenhower, however, in full recognition of 
what the weapons could do, never allowed his military the uncontrolled option. By the 
late 1950s, liberation movements in Vietnam, Indonesia, and elsewhere subscribed to the 
ideas of a "people's war." China held no allure to Eisenhower, but was seen as a military 
threat in the Third World. Mao's "Great Leap Forward" was less than a leap but more a 
disasterous program aimed at the destruction of the last remains of capitalism in China. 
When China faced the United States in 1960, it had already begun its break with the 
Soviet Union. Mao saw the Chinese revolution not as unique to China, but as a 
revolutionary consciousness that could spread all over Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and 
the Americas. People's war brought social, economic, and political equality according to 
the laws of Marxism and scientific socialist development. 

In the United States, the Soviet Union, and China, the world struggled with three 
global civilizations intent upon redemption and salvation on their own terms. In the 
Chinese view, salvation through scientific socialism was exemplified by a predominately 
rural society that had rid itself of social class differences. In the Soviet Union, redemption 
was found in the "great patriotic war," in which an entire generation of boys and girls had 
perished or disappeared into Europe. In the Sino-Soviet conflict/script, the incompatible 

Alfred L. Chan, Mao's Crusade: Politics and Policy Implementation in China's Great Leap 
Forward (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 76-108; Frederick C. Teiwes, China's Road 
to Disaster: Mao, Central Politicians, and Provincial Leaders in the Unfolding of the Great Leap 
Forward, 1955-1959 (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1999), 177-212; David Bachman, Bureaucracy, 
Economy, and Leadership in China: The Institutional Origins of the Great Leap Forward (New 
York: Cambridge University Press, 1991); Jasper Becker, Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine 
(New York: Free Press, 1996), 83-129; Lynn T. White 111, Policies of Chaos: The Organizational 
Causes of Violence in China's Cultural Revolution (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 
1989), 3-49; Jin Qiu, The Culture of Power: The Lin Biao Incident in the Cultural Revolution 
(Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999), 15-41; Yan Jiaqi, Turbulent Decade: A History of 
the Cultural Revolution (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996); Jing Lin, The Red Guards' 
Path to Violence: Political, Educational, and Psychological Factors (New York: Praeger, 1991); 
Fox Butterfield, China: Alive in the Bitter Sea (New York: Times Books, 1982); Harry Harding, 
"The Chinese State in Crisis, 1966-69, " in Roderick MacFarquhar, ed.. The Politics of China: The 
Eras of Mao and Deng (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 148-247. 


The Orthodox Cold War 

nature of the two powers and their hot rivalry for control of the international communist 
movement suggested war.**^^ 

European Crises: Berlin 

It was apparent to the Allies that the destruction of Nazi Germany in 1945 did not 
make the Germans irrelevant to European and international history. Germany was 
perhaps the greatest prize in the history of warfare. It was a nation of enormous human 
potential, with advanced technologies in rocket science, armaments, submarines, and 
chemical warfare, as well as the means for rebuilding a world-class civilian industrial 
sector. Despite the genocide that the Nazi regime had inflicted upon Europe, the interest 
remained on the part of both the West and the Soviets to reform the German nation, using 
its potential to enhance the strength of their respective sides. The division of Germany 
was a matter of course. Given the circumstances of the Cold War, no feasible plan existed 
for the reunification of the nation-state. The German script had been to follow Hitler, to 
unite under a great leader who would lead the nation not to victory but to a modern 
version of Armageddon. In the aftermath, a new script for the Cold War was born, in 
which the Soviet and American versions of technocratic modernity would oppose one 
another. That opposition pitted German liberals and social democrats in the Federal 
Republic of Germany (FRG) against the German communists of the German Democratic 
Republic (GDR). The Cold War centered on one level upon the epistemologies of Cold 
War militarism, and on another level on the city of Berlin — the symbol of the Cold War 
at the center of Europe. 

The Berlin crises of 1948 and 1958 through 1962 represented the pinnacle of the 
orthodox Cold War in Europe. Berlin was, of course, the center of gravity in a continent 
that was so essential to the future of the international community. "Who controls Berlin 
controls Germany, who controls Germany controls Europe, who controls Europe controls 
the world," Lenin said. There were other European crises — the Hungarian revolution of 
1956, the Greek civil war of 1945-1946, and Yugoslavia's break with Stalin in 1948 — 
but Berlin was paramount. It represented the focal point of the ideological and strategic 
rivalry between the two camps. Both sides viewed Berlin as an absolutely critical point. 
Khrushchev remarked, in a private conversation with Andrei Gromyko in 1961, that the 
Western powers were "crazy" if they thought the Soviets were going to let the German 
Democratic Republic collapse. Clearly, the presence of a free Western city in the heart of 
the GDR did threaten the very survival of the state. Every day that the city existed with 
free access from the eastern state, German refugees poured through the checkpoints to the 
West. Only the erection of the Berlin Wall allowed the GDR to stabilize its totalitarian 
regime for another twenty-eight years. Repeated Soviet attempts to close West Berlin off 

Raymond L. Garthojf, "Political and Military Issues in the Sino-Soviet Debate, 1963-65, " in 
Raymond L. Garthojf, ed., Sino-Soviet Military Relations (New York: F. A. Praeger 1966), 171-99; 
Donald S. Zagoria, The Sino-Soviet Conflict, 1956-1961 (New York: Atheneum, 1964); David C. 
Levine, The Rift: The Sino-Soviet Conflict (Jacksonville, IL: Harris-Wolfe, 1968). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

from the remainder of the Federal RepubUc were a brazen strategy to challenge the city's 

The strategy failed with three successive American administrations and British 
governments. The 1948-1949 blockade did not deter Truman and Churchill from 
maintaining a very expensive and exhausting airlift of supplies to the city. In 1958, Soviet 
threats against the city failed again, even with the danger of nuclear war hanging over the 
heads of the Eisenhower administration. In June 1961, as the Berlin question once again 
reached the stage of nearly requiring the Kennedy administration to order a national 
emergency. Dean Acheson wrote a white paper on the strategic significance of the city. In 
Acheson's view, the administration had to be prepared to use nuclear weapons to defend 
West Berlin. Without that willingness, the Soviets would have a free hand to overrun the 
city and thereby emasculate the Federal Republic of Germany. 

Unlike in the cases of Vietnam and Korea, the usual division between hawks and 
doves or military realists and neo-Wilsonian internationalists was not clearly present over 
the issue of Berlin. Whether the approach to the Cold War was diplomatic or military or 
managerial/technocratic, the basic premise against appeasement was plain. When the 
Soviets threatened war on the status of the city, the consensus view of the major political 
actors in the United States establishment was to hold steadfast."**' There seemed to be a 
near universal concept of American strategic interest in its former adversary. The idea of 
going to war in Europe to defend the continent from domination by the Soviet Union was 
one that carried currency even with the small minority of liberals who sat in the Senate. 
Germany, and hence all of Europe, was vastly more important in public perception than 
the lesser quicksand wars found in East Asia and elsewhere. 

The Middle East 

The Suez crisis was significant mainly because of its symbolism. The eclipse of the 
British and French empires, which had dominated the world for two hundred years, was 
symbolically complete with their humiliation in 1956. The Egyptian president and 
charismatic leader of postwar pan-Arabism in the Middle East, Gamal Abdul Nassar, 

'"*'*Av/ Shlaim, The United States and the Berlin Blockade, 1948-1949: A Study in Crisis 
Decision-Making (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989); Jack M. Schick, The Berlin 
Crisis, 1958-1962 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1971); Vladislav M. Zubok, 
Khrushchev and the Berlin Crisis (1958-1962) (Washington, DC: Cold War International History 
Project, Woodrow Wilson Center, 1993). 

State Department, "Report of Dean Acheson," Washington, June 28, 1961, FRUS, 1961- 
1963, vol. 14, Berlin Crisis, 1961-1962 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1993), 138-59; Curtis Cate, The 
Ides of August: The Berlin Wall Crisis— 1961 (New York: M. Evans, 1978); Robert M. Slusser, 
The Berlin Crisis of 1961: Soviet- American Relations and the Struggle for Power in the Kremlin, 
June-November 1961 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973); Honore Marc Catudal, 
Kennedy and the Berlin Wall Crisis: A Case Study in U.S. Decision Making (Berlin: Berlin- 
Verlag, 1980); Hope M. Harrison, Ulbricht and the Concrete "Rose": New Archival Evidence on 
the Dynamics of Soviet-East German Relations and the Berlin Crisis, 1958-1961 (Washington, 
DC: Cold War International History Project, Woodrow Wilson Center, 1993). 


The Orthodox Cold War 

occupied the Suez Canal. The defiance of the Western European powers by the Egyptian 
army would not have stood by itself. However, Eisenhower refused to accept the 
neocolonial attitude of the Europeans. The president used his power, that of the United 
States — its dominant military, political, and economic strength — to force the withdrawal 
of British, French, and Israeli forces from the canal and Sinai Peninsula. Unwilling to 
support Anglo-French imperialism even when the issue was the strategic control of the 
Suez Canal, Eisenhower demanded and received the withdrawal of the British, French, 
and Israeli troops in the wake of Nasser's seizure of the canal in the name of Egyptian 
nationhood. What later troubled American analysts and statesmen was the coincidence of 
the Suez crisis with the Hungarian revolution of 1956. The revolution had failed, and the 
Soviets consolidated their control over Hungary."'''^ 

Middle Eastern concerns for Truman and Eisenhower were significant, if not as 
critical as for later American presidents who faced the strategic challenge of protecting 
supplies of global petroleum from the Persian Gulf. Clearly, the Gulf was an essential 
area of concern, not only for its proven oil reserves, which were growing rapidly, but for 
its location between the Indian subcontinent and the Mediterranean. In strategic terms, 
communist penetration of Iran or Iraq or any of the states in the region represented a 
thrust southward to the Indian Ocean. Giving the Soviets a warm-water port on the Indian 
Ocean would increase the potential of the Soviet fleet as an international blue-water navy 
capable of controlling vital sea-lanes. To prevent this, the Truman administration 
overthrew the Mossadegh regime in Iran in 1953. In Iraq, in the early 1960s, the United 
States supported the destruction of the Iraqi communist party. The same patterns 
followed in the Middle East as elsewhere. Both Soviet and American agents were 
engaged in attempted penetration and co-opting of regimes.^" 

Toward the New Frontier: Cuba, Laos, and Berlin 1960 

The last year of the Eisenhower administration was the height of the orthodox Cold 
War. Around the world, the communist movement showed strength. There were active 

Interagency Report, Special National Intelligence Estimate SNIE 11-9-56, "Sino-Soviet 
Intentions in the Suez Crisis, " Washington, November 6, 1956, FRUS, 1955—67, vol. 16, Suez 
Crisis, July 26-December 31, 1956 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1990), 1018-20; D. Cole and C. 
Kingseed, Eisenhower and the Suez Crisis of 1956 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 
1995), 102-47; Donald Nejf, Warriors at Suez: Eisenhower Takes America into the Middle East 
(New York: Linden Press/Simon & Schuster, 1981); David Carlton, Britain and the Suez Crisis 
(New York: Blackwell, 1989); William Roger Louis and Roger Owen, eds., Suez 1956: The Crisis 
and Its Consequences (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989); Anthony Gorst and Lewis 
Johnman, The Suez Crisis (Nevf York: Routledge, 1997). 

Homa Katouzian, Musaddiq and the Struggle for Power in Iran (New York: St. Martin's 
Press, 1990), 177—207; Donald Wilber, CIA Clandestine Service History, "Overthrow of Premier 
Mossadeq of Iran, November 1952— August 1953," March 1954, National Security Archive, The 
Secret History of the Iran Coup, 1953,; 
Fuqua to Sloan. Washington, February 8, 1963, FRUS, 1961-1963, vol. 18, Near East, 1962-1963 
(Washington, DC: GPO, 1995), 342-43. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

communist movements in the former Frencli Indocliina, Indonesia, tlie Korean peninsula, 
Thailand, and elsewhere in Asia. Communist intellectuals and activists were engaged in 
the battle for the free world all over Latin America and the Caribbean, in Western Europe 
and the Middle East. While "freedom" was the battle cry of the conservatives in the West 
who wanted to "roll back" the communists, there was little indication that that was going 
to happen soon. Instead, the confrontation between the two separate ideological systems 
remained. Neither side showed the slightest inkling toward detente. The Chinese and the 
Soviets were on the verge of an ideological split that would turn their alliance into a 
potentially deadly rivalry, but the ice had not thawed between the free world and the 
socialists. The United States remained on track in its designs on containing the Soviet 
Union. The country moved forward in its public mission to expand the national frontier 
into near-earth space. As a result of Sputnik, a large effort had been made to strengthen 
science education in the United States as a matter of national security. While the country 
remained very prosperous, it was devoting a very large percentage of its peacetime 
revenues to national defense. The country was proud and resolute in its opposition to 
communism, even with the self-acknowledged dangers of extremism in foreign affairs. 
All around the world, the containment system appeared to be under siege. There seemed 
to be an unending requirement to counter the growth of communist movements. The most 
serious situations perceived by the Eisenhower administration were in Indochina, Cuba, 
and Berlin. 

The situation in Indochina — in particular, Laos — promised to involve American 
troops, as communist forces made advances toward taking control of the country. When 
Eisenhower briefed Kennedy just prior to his inauguration, the concern Eisenhower 
delivered to his successor had to do with Laos. From Eisenhower's perspective, the 
imminent loss of Laos would trigger the most serious consequences of the domino theory. 
Kennedy, who assented to the requirements of Cold War orthodoxy, agreed with 
Eisenhower's assessment. Laos was the key to Indochina, which in turn was the key to 
Southeast Asia. Basic national security doctrine circa 1960 asserted that the chain of 
countries likely to fall to communism would remain contiguous. If South Vietnam fell, it 
would trigger the same set of dominoes that would be triggered if Laos fell. Further, the 
fall of India or Pakistan or Burma would cause communism to spread like wildfire across 
the containment perimeter of Asia."*'^ 

The situation in Cuba was just the same. Castro had come into power ostensibly as a 
revolutionary hero. Overnight it became apparent that his true colors were those of the 
communist international. He had soon announced his views as those of a Marxist- 
Leninist revolutionary when the Eisenhower administration broke off relations and began 
to plan immediately for his overthrow. Around the world, U.S. interests in protecting the 
free world were compromised by the growing communist liberation movements. It was 

White House, "Notes of Conversation between President-Elect Kennedy and President 
Eisenhower," Washington, January 19, 1961, FPUS, 1961-1963, vol. 24, Laos Crisis, 1961-1963 
(Washington, DC: GPO, 1984), 18—20; Clijf Herter, "Memorandum for the Record," Washington, 
January 19, 1961, ibid., 22-25. 


The Orthodox Cold War 

now more necessary than ever that the United States deploy additional Cold War 
stratagems to defeat the enemy. The new stratagem espoused by John F. Kennedy as one 
of his singular contributions to the Cold War was "CI," or "counterinsurgency" warfare. 
In a way, CI violated the culture of the orthodox Cold War. It would not support the 
centralized, controlled institutional nature of nuclear and conventional warfare that had 
developed so impressively during the 1940s and 1950s.''''' 

As the decade of the 1960s and the last year of the Eisenhower administration began, 
John F. Kennedy and his new frontier were not yet a reality or even an eventuality. The 
future of the presidency hung between Kennedy and Eisenhower's vice president, 
Richard Nixon. Kennedy's style and spirit were crafted to enthuse youth. His views were 
in line with Adlai Stevenson's; liberalism defined his script in both domestic and 
international affairs. Nixon, the famous rival, lost the presidency by a few thousand votes 
in Illinois and Texas. A scientific appraisal of the outcome reveals only a random 
variation; Kennedy's election was no more likely than Nixon's, and the "Age of 
Camelot" was not destiny but simply a statistical outcome of an evenly divided 
electorate. The American metascript, a complex adaptive system, may have simply 
"adapted" to the election of one man rather than the other. Another hypothesis suggests 
that Kennedy's election was always far more likely than Nixon's, and that Kennedy's 
crafted performance in the famous 1960 presidential debates was his path to victory. 
Nixon, who sweated under the lights, lost because that was part of his script — his 
particular life path, which would take him to the presidency eight years later and to 
political destruction some six years after that.'"'' 

Several different tracks for warfare, the space race, computers, and the nuclear arms 
race all remained on the table for the new president as Eisenhower ended his stable if 
uninspiring eight years in the White House. The virulent anticommunism of the 
McCarthy years was gone, although only barely. The country remained in its self- 
perceived fortress, surrounded by deadly communists who saw the United States in kind 
as a deadly adversary. The domestic script, and ultimately the script for the Cold War, 
would turn with Kennedy and his new frontier. He won the election of 1960, but, as 
noted, by a margin exceedingly below what could be considered decisive. Yet, Kennedy 
was elected, and he was the perfect transition figure from the orthodox Cold War to the 

Welch, Response to Revolution, 64-100; Stephen G. Rabe, The Most Dangerous Area in the 
World: John F. Kennedy Confronts Communist Revolution in Latin America (Chapel Hill: 
University of North Carolina Press, 1999), 125^7; Schwab, Defending the Free World, 1-80; 
Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr., The Army and Vietnam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 
1986), 27-127. 

*''*Theodore H White, The Making of the President, I960 (New York: Pocket Books, 1961), 
279-344; Christopher Matthews, Kennedy and Nixon: The Rivalry That Shaped Postwar America 
(New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), 133-56; Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., A Thousand Days: John 
F. Kennedy in the White House (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965); Irving Bernstein, Promises 
Kept: John F. Kennedy's New Frontier (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991); Gerald S. and 
Deborah H. Strober, Let Us Begin Anew: An Oral History of the Kennedy Presidency (New York: 
HarperCollins, 1993), 1-69. 


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America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

revisionist period. His personality and frame of reference, as a function of his personal 
beliefs, culture, and political alliances, made him so."*'"^ Still, the full work of Kennedy's 
revision of the Cold War would come to fruition only after his death; then the tumult over 
Vietnam jettisoned the rhetoric and repetitive behaviors particular to the orthodox Cold 
War. In the agency of John F. Kennedy, the country would struggle with conflicting 
postures toward the Soviet Union and the international communist movement. Kennedy's 
penchant, his animus, required a neo-Wilsonian view of the world. Yet the national script 
was complex, containing separate and conflicting imperatives for organizing international 
relations and American foreign policy. The national script and the metascript for the Cold 
War would turn in the 1960s. The ramifications of the Cold War in the 1960s would 
haunt the legacy of the figure most responsible for its turn — John F. Kennedy. The last 
president of the orthodox era, he would move the country toward a world that would 
challenge the United States to its very core. 

''"^Pierre Salinger, With Kennedy (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966), 250-83, 319-29; 
Theodore C. Sorensen, Kennedy (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), 509-757. 


Chapter VI 
The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 

The Rise of the Counterscript 

The orthodox Cold War turned in the 1960s. Yet, at the start of the Kennedy 
administration, there was no inkling that that would happen. In the minds of leading 
American policy makers and intellectuals, the threat from the Soviets was palpable. The 
collective memory of the enormous calamity that was the Second World War was etched 
into the national scripts of the superpowers some fifteen and twenty years after victory 
day. When, on a very cold day in January, John F. Kennedy gave his famous inaugural 
address, the containment system he alluded to had become a truly enormous edifice. 
Thousands of nuclear weapons, planes, and ships and millions of allied soldiers were 
under his command. In the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev threatened the West with 
nuclear Armageddon. The rim of containment extended from North America through 
Western and Central Europe, around the southern and eastern borders of communist Asia, 
and up across the northern Pacific to the Aleutian Islands. It encompassed the entire 
Pacific and Indian Oceans, which were guarded by the U.S. Navy's Pacific command, by 
itself the most powerful naval force on earth. Around the world, intelligence posts 
listened to the communist mainland, which, including both the People's Republic of 
China and the Soviet Union, was larger than the Mongol empire of the thirteenth century. 
In strategic and geographic terms, containment was the most ambitious military plan ever 
attempted or achieved by any empire. Subtracting the land areas of the Soviet Union and 
China, as well as their small satellite countries that were part of the communist bloc, the 
containment structure sought to protect 70 percent of the world's landmass, and more 
than 90 percent of the earth's total surface. It was a spectacular peacetime project for 

Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

national defense — the most expansive ever — but it was one undertaken with complete 



So it was, on a cold winter day in January 1961, that John F. Kennedy became 
president of the United States. His short presidency, less than three years, or the 
"thousand days" of Arthur Schlesinger Jr., was the last one of the orthodox Cold War. It 
was a time of momentous forces applied to American society. Internal dissent over the 
apartheid race laws still in place, and a growing protest movement against the overall 
race/class structure of a proudly liberal society, threatened the international prestige of 
the United States. Externally, the modernization of the former colonial regions of Africa 
and Asia, and the semifeudal praetorian regimes of the Americas, promised to promote 
instability of both a political and social nature. It also suggested the likelihood of 
communist expansion in the newly named "Third World."^'' 

The Kennedy presidency began with orthodoxy in full control. Kennedy and his 
nation battled the Soviets in Europe, in the Caribbean, and in Southeast Asia. America 
understood itself to be a society embroiled in a global war, contested through the proxies 
of propaganda, guerrilla wars, and a massive military arms race. Then Kennedy did 
something; he tried, albeit gingerly given the domestic political risks, to break out of the 
Cold War orthodoxy. He was trying to do that before he died, by negotiating a nuclear 
test ban treaty with the Soviets. Then Johnson carried forward Kennedy's legacy but 
became entangled in the institutional forces of global containment. Johnson's war broke 
the orthodox Cold War, rendering it vulnerable to savage attacks against its legitimacy, 
both inside the United States and abroad. With orthodoxy's decline, the prestige of the 
United States lessened. Vietnam unleashed a torrent of anti-American sentiment, from the 
Americas to Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and, not least in importance. Western Europe. 
Once again, as in the 1930s, the legitimacy of the liberal technocratic order came under 
serious attack. Anti-Western and procommunist movements throughout the world 
challenged the institutional and cultural dominance of the West. In particular, they argued 
against the expanded presence of the United States outside of its territorial boundaries. In 
Southeast Asia, the American armed forces suffered their first and only comprehensive 
defeat at the hands of a peasant army. Vietnam was part of the turn of the script; it led to 
the militant anti-Americanism that was so prominent in the Middle East beginning in the 

''^^Brodie, Strategy in the Missile Age; Rockefeller Brothers Fund, The Mid-century Challenge 
to U.S. Foreign Policy. Panel I Report of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Special Studies Project 
(Garden City: Doubleday, 1959); Max F. Milliken and W. W. Rostow, A Proposal: Key to an 
Effective Foreign Policy (New York: Harper & Row, 1957); Schwab, Defending the Free World, 1- 

Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, 506-619, 759—93; Text of Kennedy 's inaugural address, p. 

Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, 198-273; Gibbons, The U.S. Government and the 
Vietnam War,- Schwab, Defending the Free World, 153-210; David Kaiser, American Tragedy: 
Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University 
Press, 2000). 


The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 

As noted, the orthodox script created a common view among Americans about the 
intent and nature of international communism. It molded a society able to maintain an 
unprecedented level of militarization, even in peacetime. The Kennedy administration 
continued the military and civilian programs for national defense, and, indeed, it 
expanded many of them. The Kennedy containment doctrine was linked to Keynesian, 
not neoclassical fiscal policy. Kennedy was deeply worried about the outflow of gold as a 
result of foreign aid commitments, but his agenda went beyond that of Eisenhower in 
expanding the capabilities of the U.S. military. The Eisenhower administration had 
worked on the big strategic projects that projected American power. Eisenhower's 
nuclear deterrent became a truly global arsenal of thermonuclear devices. Kennedy 
continued the nuclear and conventional military buildup, but he also embraced the 
concept of counterinsurgency, a form of warfare that mixed small arms with progressive 
Wilsonian ideals in American foreign policy. In doing so, he expanded American 
capabilities in the Third World."*'' 

The script turned when Kennedy and Johnson and the legion of actors who defined 
the 1960s constructed a short historical epoch, lasting no more than ten years, when the 
forces of social change altered the Cold War, at least until it returned to neo-orthodoxy in 
the 1980s. Between 1961 and 1980, the script turned. The Cold War changed with the 
social and political context of international relations. During the 1960s, American society 
absorbed the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and of Martin Luther King Jr. The 
civil rights marches, the urban riots, and the television war in Southeast Asia turned the 
culture and the fabric of politics in the United States. Elsewhere in the sixties, American 
culture, like a virus, swept through Europe and Asia, bringing the new rock music and 
drug culture across thousands of miles of ocean. As the events of the sixties unfolded, the 
American narrative turned upon itself. It was as if everything that had been understood, 
implicitly, by Americans about their culture was now reversed. Traditional saccharin 
American pride in the country's position in the world was replaced by a mood nearly 
opposite. Instead of a heroic America, a redeeming body of people doing good work for 
the world and fulfilling a self-defined societal destiny, the national dialogue from the 
early 1960s to the end of the Carter administration was one focused on loss, hypocrisy, 
and national humiliation. *°° 

Bowie, Waging Peace, 149-201; Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, 217-18; Campbell 
Craig, Destroying the Village: Eisenhower and Thermonuclear War (New York: Columbia 
University Press, 1998). For balance of payments and gold-flow concerns in the Kennedy 
administration, see State Department, Memorandum, Adenauer Visit, Washington, April 12—13, 
1961, FRUS, 1961-1963, vol 9, Foreign Economic Policy (Washington, DC: GPO, 1995), 114-16; 
White House, Heller to Kennedy, August 30, 1962, ibid., 138-41; White House, Dillon to Kennedy, 
Washington, August 31, 1961, ibid., 122-26. 

' Terry H. Anderson, The Movement and the Sixties (New York: Oxford University Press, 
1996); Adam Garfinkle, Telltale Hearts: The Origins and Impact of the Vietnam Antiwar 
Movement (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995); Alice Echols, Shaky Ground: The Sixties and Its 
Aftershocks (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002); Kimball, The Long March; Farrell, 
The Spirit of the Sixties; Alexander Bloom, ed.. Long Time Gone: Sixties America Then and Now 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Media images from tlie time period show the script as almost transparent to the 
observer. In Cuba, the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and the chilling danger of the Cuban 
Missile Crisis, with its genuine prospect of a nuclear holocaust, marred the image of a 
great superpower commanding the globe. The coup against an American ally, the Diem 
regime of South Vietnam, once more challenged the integrity and efficacy of the 
containment system. Then the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the unresolved 
nature of it, confronted the nation with a profound trauma. Those crises — and there were 
many others, including the domestic crises related to the black civil rights movement — 
informed the even greater national crises of the Johnson and Nixon administrations, when 
the enormity of social discontent over race and the Vietnam War generated extraordinary 
social change. Indeed, those forces were strong enough to convert millions of Americans 
to a lifestyle that rejected almost all aspects of postwar American civil society.^"' 

The historical narrative is familiar: the confluence of societal tectonics in the 1960s 
(technocratic corporate culture, nuclear weapons, and permanent war preparation) was 
juxtaposed against an emerging antiestablishment culture. Against the images of square 
dark-glass corporate buildings, crew cuts, and IBM punch cards, the revisionist Cold War 
engendered a new bohemia, a countercultural movement that swept through American 
universities, as well as those in Europe and elsewhere around the world. The orthodox 
Cold War would crumble under the images of the mass media. There was the naked child 
with napalm burns running from a South Vietnamese village, and a Southern policeman 
unleashing his dog on a calm black man who offered nothing but "passive resistance." 
Then there were the images of rioters burning looted stores in American cities, and huge 
marches of anti-Vietnam War protesters surrounding government buildings and 
demanding an end to the war. Those marches and demonstrations galvanized the public in 
the late sixties and early seventies; ultimately, they included people from all walks of 
American life.'"' 

From the early 1960s through the late 1970s, images poured out of television sets into 
the proverbial living rooms of American families and splashed across newspapers and 

(New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); Peter Braunstein and Michael William Doyle, eds., 
Imagine Nation: The American Counterculture of the 1960s and '70s (New York: Routledge, 2002); 
Joan Morrison and Robert K. Morrison, From Camelot to Kent State: The Sixties Experience in the 
Words of Those Who Lived It (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); Michael Bibby, ed., The 
Vietnam War and Postmodernity (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999); John Carlos 
Rowe and Richard Berg, eds., The Vietnam War and American Culture (New York: Columbia 
University Press, 1991); Robert Buzzanco, Vietnam and the Transformation of American Life 
(Maiden, MA: Blackwell, 1999); Bruce J. Schulman, The Seventies: The Great Shift in American 
Culture, Society, and Politics (New York: Free Press, 2001); Gerald Messadie, Requiem pour 
superman: La crise du mythe americain (Paris: R. Laffont, 1988); Andrew Hacker, The End of the 
American Era (New York: Atheneum, 1970); Philip Slater, The Pursuit of Loneliness: American 
Culture at the Breaking Point (Boston: Beacon Press, 1970); Jerome H. Skolnick, ed.. Crisis in 
American Institutions (Boston: Little, Brown, 1970). 

^^' Anderson, The Movement and the Sixties, 241-91. 

^"ibid, 293-353. 


The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 

newsmagazines informing Americans, and the world, that the country had undergone a 
fundamental change in the tone and substance of its historical narrative. For the essential 
actors involved, it did not seem as if the dramatic and extraordinary events of the era had 
been planned, either by them or by an invisible force. On the contrary, they had only 
continued to do what they always did. The Kennedy administration had not planned the 
Cuban Missile Crisis. The Johnson administration had not planned the Vietnam War or 
the Tet offensive. The Nixon administration did not plan the rise of Islamic 
fundamentalism or the energy crisis of the 1970s. Nor did the Ford or Carter 
administrations plan for Soviet expansion into Africa and the Middle East, nor did they 
anticipate the Iranian hostage crisis, the second oil shock, or the Soviet invasion of 
Afghanistan. A world that appeared menacing in 1961 was not much friendlier in 1980, 
but American society and the cosmopolitan society of the West had changed 

The Missile Crisis 

The decision-making related to the Soviet deployment of medium-range nuclear 
missiles in Cuba in a period of thirteen days in October 1962 is perhaps the most heavily 
documented and best analyzed of any group process in human history. Tens of thousands 
of pages of primary documents are now available in American and Soviet archives. Over 
several decades, conferences held in Moscow, Washington, and Havana have examined 
the psychological, political, and strategic considerations that impacted two small groups 
of leaders and advisers working feverishly and simultaneously in two separate parts of 
the world. The two great crises of the orthodox Cold War were Korea and the Cuban 
Missile Crisis. As we have seen, the Korean War crisis forced the United States to 
respond in a way for which it was unprepared. As with earlier wars in the century, Korea 
triggered an American commitment to defend its national interest in a relatively remote 
area of the world. Quickly and reflexively, the country followed the scripted path over the 
legacy of Pearl Harbor and Munich. With the bold assault on the U.S. position, the 
dictates for NSC 68 were given full force. The country rearmed at breakneck speed, 
expanding the postwar national security state into its mid- and late twentieth-century 
form. The redeemer nation survived Korea and the other crises of the 1950s. Nonetheless, 
as the Kennedy administration encountered the nuclear challenge of the Soviets, it was 
clearly apparent that in Cuba, the luck that had followed the nation from the eighteenth 
century had nearly run out.^"^ 

^ Robert F. Kennedy, Thirteen days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis (New York: 
Norton, 1971), 102-11: James G. Blight, On the Brink: Americans and Soviets Reexamine the 
Cuban Missile Crisis (New York: Noonday, 1990), 204-14; Weisbrot, Maximum Danger, 203-14: 
L. V. Scott, Macmillan, Kennedy, and the Cuban Missile Crisis: Political, Military, and Intelligence 
Aspects (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999), 153-89: Allison and Zelikow, Essence of Decision; 
Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali, One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and 
Kennedy, 1958-1964 (New York: Norton, 1997): State Department, Kennedy to Khruschev, 
Washington, October 22, 1962, FRUS, 1961-1963, vol. 6, Kennedy- Khrushchev Exchanges 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

There were no plans in the founders' design for how to fight a nuclear war. In the 
Cuban Missile Crisis, strategic dramaturgy of the most serious kind tested the nature of 
the contest between the superpowers. When Kennedy and Khrushchev contemplated a 
nuclear exchange as a result of their confrontation over Cuba, the terms of the metascript 
became transparent. As the superpowers faced each other in the Florida Straits, the two 
leaders weighed the meaning of the modern age. Nuclear weapons had only been used 
against Japan in 1945. In seventeen years, the technological capabilities of nuclear 
exchange had multiplied geometrically. Clearly, Kennedy had the superior force of some 
thousands of weapons with a "throw weight" of ten thousand megatons. With hundreds of 
operational ICBMs at his disposal, compared to the relative handful in the hands of 
Khrushchev, the American leader could bargain from a position of strength. Nonetheless, 
even if he knew, as so many military and civilian advisers had told him, that he had to 
respond militarily in the last instance if no Soviet withdrawal was forthcoming, the result 
was meaningless. His superiority was nearly meaningless because it still meant that tens 
of millions of Americans would die in a Soviet strike or counterstrike."^""* 

The overriding question for historians of the twentieth century remains: What was the 
meaning and consequences of the crisis? From the perspective suggested in this 
synthesis, the crisis was connected to many others that occurred over twenty years. We 
can begin with the twin Cuban crises of the Bay of Pigs and the Missile Crisis and the 
crisis over Berlin in 1961-1962. Then we will end in southwestern Asia at the end of the 
Carter administration, when the Iranian and Afghan crises shattered the shaken pride of a 
self-described chosen nation. For two decades, American power was primarily reactive to 
the deep anti-Western sentiments and revolutions that occurred throughout the Third 
World. The end of European colonialism unleashed centuries of repressed anger against 
the old imperialist powers. For the United States, the inheritor of so much of the imperial 
imprimatur, the costs were an increased burden for the containment system, as each of the 
world's regions posed problems for the projection of American power.'"^ 

In Cuba, the technocratic scripts for the two superpowers came to a frightening 
impasse. Though both the United States and the Soviet Union had spent the time since the 
end of the Second World War working furiously to build nuclear arsenals of maximum 

(Washington, DC: GPO, 1996), 165—66. Kennedy concluded his short letter with one cogent 
sentence: "1 hope that your government will refrain from any action which would widen or deepen 
this already grave crisis and that we agree to resume the path of peaceful negotiations" (166). 

^"''Robert S. McNamara, The Essence of Security: Reflections in Office (New York: Harper & 
Row, 1968), 51-67; Eugene Burdick, Fail Safe (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1962); Richard 
Fryklund, 100 Million Lives: Maximum Survival in a Nuclear War (New York: Macmillan, 1962); 
Arthur Lee Burns, The Rationale of Catalytic War (Princeton, NJ: Woodrow Wilson Center for 
Public and International Affairs, 1959); Herbert S. Dinerstein, War and the Soviet Union: Nuclear 
Weapons and the Revolution in Soviet Military and Political Thinking (New York: Praeger, 1959). 

' ^W. W. Rostow, Basic National Security Plan 1962, Johnson VP Papers, Lyndon Baines 
Johnson Library, Austin, Texas; Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, 200; Gelb and Betts, The Irony 
of Vietnam; American Security Council, National Strategy Committee, Guidelines for Cold War 
Victory (Chicago: American Security Council Press, 1964). 


The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 

throw weight and accuracy, each power understood its own behavior as defensive. The 
necessity of building weapons a thousand or more times more destructive than the 
Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs was understood, implicitly, as a vital national response to 
the objectives of the other side. For more than twenty years, since the initial buildup of 
the U.S. military before Pearl Harbor, the United States had developed its military 
capabilities steadily and, quite often, rapidly to effect the proper strategic balance that 
existed in the world. From the Soviets' perspective, the exponential growth in American 
military power since 1940 demonstrated a serious threat to their interests. The Soviets 
believed that placing missiles in Cuba would both guarantee the survival of the Cuban 
revolution and redress the preponderant advantage enjoyed by the United States in the 
nuclear arms race. The American perspective was that the Soviets had, once again, 
showed boldness and treachery. To allow the Soviets to establish a nuclear arsenal and 
military base within a hundred miles of Florida was unthinkable to any American 
government. Yet, the Soviets viewed the Americans through their own history. The West 
had betrayed them during the First World War and the Second World War. No American 
could comprehend the national destruction visited upon the Soviet Union by the German 

As with all major foreign policy crises, the documents on the decision making 
illuminate the entire structure — bureaucratic, psychological, and cultural — that embodies 
the agency of the decision makers. In the Cuban Missile Crisis, two powerful scripts 
communicated with each other. Both the United States and the Soviet Union saw their 
mutual relationship as the highest-stakes game. Truly massive and global national 
security structures, dedicated to preparing for world war involving nuclear and 
nonnuclear forces, found themselves poised in confrontation over the missile deployment. 
The American reaction was swift and menacing. A Soviet missile battery ninety miles off 
the coast of Florida could rain massive destruction over more than half the population of 
the country in a matter of minutes. The prospects of appeasing such an aggressive action 
were nil. 

The Soviet move, immensely dangerous, was thought to have been provoked by the 
actions of the Kennedy administration vis-a-vis Cuba, a new and extremely important 
Soviet ally. The Soviets surmised that the fate of the Cuban revolution depended upon its 
ability to deter an American invasion (as was the case early in 1961, the first months of 
the Kennedy administration). From Khrushchev's perspective, the honor and integrity of 
the socialist, that is, Marxist-Leninist, alliance against world capitalism depended upon 
the Soviets' goodwill toward their socialist brothers in the Caribbean. So, the deployment 
of the missiles was inspired more by fear and a desire for a credible deterrent than by a 
desire to gain strategic superiority over the United States. ^"^ 

Cold War International History Project, "Russian Documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis, " (see especially "Telegram of Soviet Ambassador to Cuba A. I. 
Alekseev to the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs [MFA], 7 September 1962 "); Gribkov, Operation 
ANADYR, 12-15. 


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America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

American policy makers and the informed public, however, could hardly be expected 
to ever accept Soviet admonishments that they were only acting in a defensive mode. The 
standoff between the superpowers very quickly became one of extraordinary tension and 
almost sublime danger. Here, in the year 1962, less than a generation after the death 
camps at Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, military planners on both sides were compelled 
to contemplate the unthinkable. The script required ongoing massive investment in 
nuclear weapons research and development. The space program and research in the new 
fields of microelectronics and mainframe data processing systems were all related to the 
development of intercontinental and theater strategic weapons. The American script went 
all the way to the brink, and the Soviet script did the same, only blinking at the last 
moment when the reality of thermonuclear warfare became far too clear. ^'^^ 

The Aftermath 

After the missile crisis, both sides quickly reflected upon how close they had come to 
Armageddon. Clearly, the encounter came very close to that. One can speculate about the 
counterfactual consequences of Richard Nixon being president. Would he have gone with 
the more aggressive military strategies proposed, including a unilateral invasion of Cuba? 
Would this have led to a nuclear exchange? What if the navy had fired upon a Soviet 
supply ship, if only accidentally? What if any number of variable events had turned out 
ever so slightly differently? Would the laws of order and chaos have turned world history 
tragically in another direction? By definition, all counterfactual speculations are 
unknowable. They cannot be known, at least to the satisfaction of historians, because they 
never happened, and because history is not an experimental science, they are not testable 

What we know to some degree is how the group psychology of both sides changed 
with the near catastrophic crisis. There were earlier and later crises that triggered high 
states of danger in the nuclear Cold War. After 1962, the Soviets remained more 
determined than ever to match and even exceed the nuclear capabilities of their 
adversary. The Soviets never again created a comparable nuclear confrontation. As Nikita 
Khrushchev said in a famous speech, nuclear war would leave a society "where the living 
would envy the dead." Yet, Khrushchev was deposed precisely because he appeased 
Kennedy. The Americans converted the aftermath of the crisis into a worldwide 
propaganda victory. Hardened by two generations of cataclysmic war and brutal Stalinist 
rule, the proffering of American victory was intolerable to the Soviet nomenklatura. The 
Soviets would not allow American superiority in nuclear weapons. Consequently, the 
Soviet Union's nuclear deterrent grew enormously in effective force between the 1960s 
and the 1980s. Aside from a deep aversion to another dangerous missile confrontation, 
the Soviet script for international relations hardly changed. The Soviet technocratic state, 
immense and obsessed with global war, continued its production and development of 

^"^Weisbrot, Maximum Danger, 76-110; Fursenko and Naftali, One Hell of a Gamble, 240-89; 
Kahn, On Thermonuclear War, 453-74. 


The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 

gigantic nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. By the 1980s, giant multimegaton 
Soviet missiles numbering in the hundreds threatened the destruction of the United States 
in minutes, including the seemingly impregnable NORAD headquarters built inside of 
Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. ^'^^ 

For the United States, however, the missile crisis of 1962 did not galvanize the state 
to accelerate its nuclear development. On the contrary, the public experience of the crisis 
reinforced neo-Wilsonian ideology. It strengthened the public's fear of confronting the 
Soviets in ways favored by the political right. The Clausewitzian view of the Cold War 
required commanders to seize the initiative and attack the enemy with overwhelming 
force. This concept of the Cold War, generally understood as military realism and 
expounded by conservative military leaders, lost ground in its ability to influence the 
technocratic state and, hence, the ultimate path of the state's technocratic script. The net 
effect of the crisis affected, deeply, Kennedy's diplomacy toward the Soviets, making the 
1963 test ban treaty possible. It also affected Lyndon Johnson's calculus of the Cold War. 
In that respect, the brief but traumatic encounter with nuclear war shadowed Johnson's 
gradualist approach to Vietnam. The managerial and technocratic script informed by the 
increasingly quantitative, analytical frameworks of the Pentagon and the National 
Security Council pulled Johnson and the United States into Vietnam, but with the hard 
constraints imposed for avoiding another nuclear confrontation. The missile crisis was 
embedded in Othe collective memory of the American public. It became an implicit factor 
in the operative ideologies of American decision-makers. It reminded Lyndon Johnson 
and everyone who worked on foreign policy that the price of the Cold War could be 
genuinely catastrophic. So, in the last analysis, the encounter with nuclear holocaust 
moved the center of the American orientation toward the Cold War and the Soviet Union 
very slightly to the left. The neo-Wilsonians and political realists gained something in the 
aftermath of Cuba, and the military in its totality lost. 



The orthodox script, challenged by domestic social change, turned with the ugly 
in Indochina. Like the genre horror movies of Alfred Hitchcock, or the episodes of the 
popular science fiction series The Twilight Zone, Vietnam tore at the heart of American 
society. Metaphorically, it tortured its television observers with endless morality plays set 
in the swamps of the Mekong Delta. Nonetheless, the intervention grew quickly in the 

^ Chris Bellamy, Red God of War: Soviet Artillery and Rocket Forces (London: Brassey's, 
1986); Bluth, Soviet Strategic Arms Policy before SALT, 121-218; Lawrence Freedman, U.S. 
Intelligence and the Soviet Strategic Threat (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986); 
Honore Marc Catudal, Soviet Nuclear Strategy from Stalin to Gorbachev: A Revolution in Soviet 
Military and Political Thinking (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1989), 67-149; Donald P. 
Steury, ed. Intentions and Capabilities: Estimates on Soviet Strategic Forces, 1950-1983 
(Washington, DC: CIA, 1996); Steven J. Zaloga, The Kremlin's Nuclear Sword: The Rise and Fall 
of Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces, 1945-2000 (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

mid-1960s, driven by the ideological prism of Cold War thought. Multiple perspectives 
on strategy were combined under the technocratic leadership of the Pentagon. The war 
was going to be long and costly, but the epistemologies of the Cold War, organized for 
global containment, saw the conflict as imperative. Even with intense discussions about 
the use of counterinsurgency and conventional forces, in the background was the larger 
schema of the Cold War. The nuclear crisis lay just underneath the surface as American 
leadership planned the defense of the free world in Southeast Asia. With each of several 
critical events, beginning with Diem's overthrow in 1963, the Gulf of Tonkin in 1965, 
and then the whole series of international and national events that defined the American 
war in Indochina, the script turned critically.'"' 

The whole apparatus that supported the smooth projection of U.S. power around the 
world came under serious political assault. The age was so full of paroxysms of antiwar 
and anti-institutional protest that the political basis for maintaining the orthodox script 
shook under the weight of anger directed against it. By 1970, it was unclear if the 
American army was fit to fight, not only in Vietnam, but anywhere in the world."" 
Technologically, the military machine for war did not suffer — it advanced — but the script 
itself was at its nadir, based upon the memories of the Second World War, native 
anticommunism, and the fire of American nationalism. The institutional and 
epistemological basis for the national security state entered the Vietnam War intact. By 
its end, in the early 1970s, social and intellectual revolution had overcome the country. 
Vast new bodies of knowledge and political movements emerged, namely, feminism, 
ethnic rights and liberation (to be called cultural studies), and environmentalism; indeed, 
a wide-ranging democratic revolution had spread through American culture. The 
antitechnocratic, represented by the hippie movement but widespread in other American 
subcultures, presented a new culture. The national security structure would have to adapt. 
It would have to learn to fight wars with few casualties and subscribe to the powerful 
political movements that spread new forms of Wilsonianism in the United States and 
around the world. 

The Intervention 

The intervention in Vietnam had elements of cultural memory as well as the linear 
rationality of a technocratic decision-making system. On one level, the intervention was 

^"^David Halberstam, The Making of a Quagmire (New York: Random House, 1965) and The 
Best and the Brightest; Schwab, Defending the Free World; Kaiser, American Tragedy, 341-497; 
Frederik Logevall, Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in 
Vietnam (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), 333-413. 

' Anderson, The Movement and the Sixties, 376-78; Richard Boyle, The Flower of the 
Dragon: The Breakdown of the U.S. Army in Vietnam (San Francisco: Ramparts Press, 1972); 
Shelby L. Stanton, The Rise and Fall of an American Army: U.S. Ground Forces in Vietnam, 1965- 
1973 (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1985), 346-48; B. G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley, Stolen Valor: 
How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History (Dallas: Verity Press, 


The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 

an engagement between the communist camp and the Western camp. It was a local 
conflict in the global ideological struggle between the two rivals for global order. On 
another level, the longest war in American history was an encounter between the 
advanced technological society of North America and the non-Western, undeveloped 
society and culture of Vietnam. The apposite axes of North-South and East-West 
conflicts converged in the encounter between the United States and the People's Republic 
of Vietnam. It was thoroughly scripted by the Cold War, by the history of America's 
expansion and redemptive mission, and by the clandestine struggle over two thousand 
years against foreign domination that was at the very center of Vietnamese historical 
identity. The conflict buried itself in the heart of American and Indochinese societies, 
turning the mechanisms of political, social, and intellectual revolution in those countries 
and around the world. It reorganized the American and Western scripts, changing the 
Cold War and the fundamental perspective of various elite groups on the nature of power, 
institutions, and social and political relationships on all levels of society. 

The facts of the intervention are clear. The escalation of the Vietnam War came over a 
period of years. Sixteen thousand troops were in the country when John F. Kennedy died. 
By the summer of 1965 more than 50,000 were there, and by the end of the year close to 
200,000 American personnel were deployed in South Vietnam. The high-water mark was 
in the spring of 1969, after Johnson's retirement and the new president, Richard Nixon, 
was ready to begin the long process of withdrawal. More than 500,000 troops were in 
Vietnam in 1968 and 1969, and some 750,000 were in the combat region. A historian can 
cite the figures and the litany of combat operations that composed the Vietnam War from 
1965 to 1972, when the last troops were there. In the social history of the war on the 
American side, much has been written about the effect of the war on the common 
soldier — its disorienting and scarring impact upon millions of men. ^" 

In world historical terms, though, the war was hardly different from so many others 
fought in the twentieth century and earlier. It was horrific in many respects, yet so were 
hundreds of wars that were fought in Europe, Asia, and, indeed, on every continent 
inhabited by humans. One of the distinguishing aspects of the conflict was its immersion 
in the electronic media of the 1960s and 1970s. It had an immediate and deep impact 
upon viewing audiences in the United States and around the world. The incessant nature 
of the conflict inflamed anti-American feelings throughout the world. The visual brutality 
of American counterinsurgency operations infuriated public opinion in Western Europe. 
Otherwise friendly constituencies began to oppose American foreign policy in a serious 
way. In the United States, the conflict's media portrayal by not unsympathetic journalists 
and television producers inspired the radicalization of elite college youth and the acerbic 

^ Peter Goldman and Tony Fuller, Charlie Company: What Vietnam Did to Us (New York: 
William Morrow, 1982); Joel Oster Brende and Erwin Randolph Parson, Vietnam Veterans: The 
Road to Recovery (New York: Plenum Press, 1985); Jonathan Shay, Achilles in Vietnam: Combat 
Tyranny and the Undoing of Character (New York: Atheneum, 1994); Richard A. Kulka et al, 
Trauma and the Vietnam War Generation (New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1990). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

rejection of the war by millions of committed liberals as well as conservatives and 
moderates along the political spectrum. ^'^ 

Within the American state, the rival interpretations of political realists, neo-Wilsonian 
idealists, technocrats, and Clausewitzian war hawks inspired a morose and conflicted 
understanding of the war. The Johnson and Nixon administrations had little success 
winning the war because of the indomitable clandestine military skills of the enemy. It 
was hardly possible — no matter how much firepower was assembled, no matter the 
degree of humanitarian or civilian aid and the training of hundreds of thousands of South 
Vietnamese in modern military practices — that the communists would be defeated and 
driven out of their homeland. This was understood implicitly in the summer of 1965 
when, at a series of deliberative conferences over a period of a week at the end of July, 
the final decisions on the scope of American escalation were made by Lyndon Johnson 
and his coterie of advisers affiliated with the National Security Council. 

Johnson followed his script into Vietnam. Johnson biographers describe a man in 
deep conflict over his actions. All primary sources, including audiotapes from the White 
House, show a man agonized and regretful over his choice. Despite profound personal 
premonitions of disaster, Johnson ordered the introduction of combat troops in 1965. He 
gave eloquent speeches that expressed his genuine belief in fighting the Cold War. 
Nonetheless, his political and personal destruction seemed almost predestined. It was as if 
this man, born of modest circumstances in the hill country of south central Texas, with 
enormous ambition, energy, and skill, had worked his way to the exalted position of 
president of the United States. There, in a position of world historical importance, he 
used the formidable powers of the office and his own force of personality to wage a 
conflict scripted for the United States and Vietnam and for Lyndon Johnson himself. It 
was his mission, no doubt imprinted, programmed, and implanted in his life plan, to 
martyr himself. So was his path, and so was his portrayal in the media and in accounts by 
recent political historians. In presiding over the escalation of the Vietnam War, Lyndon 
Johnson attended his own public funeral. He saw his funerary rites in the burning fires of 
Saigon during the Tet offensive of 1968, when the Vietcong, themselves scripted for 
martyrdom, were slaughtered in an attempt to break the United States and the South 
Vietnamese national army (ARVN) in their defense of South Vietnam. The Vietcong 
were buried in the thousands, their ranks forever decimated by the massive nationwide 
offensive. Yet, in the aftermath, the political will of the United States was broken, and 
Lyndon Johnson knew he would forever be known for waging an aggressive 
technological war against defenseless peasants.*" 

/. DeGroot, A Noble Cause? America and the Vietnam War (Essex, UK: 
Longman/Pearson Education, 2000); Thomas Powers, Vietnam: The War at Home: Vietnam and 
the American People, 1964-1968 (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1984); Caroline Page, U.S. Official 
Propaganda during the Vietnam War, 1965-1973: The Limits of Persuasion (New York: Leicester 
University Press, 1996), 106-47. 

See Johnson 's White House tape transcriptions in Beschloss, Taking Charge and Reaching 
for Glory; Robert Dallek, Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961-1973 (New York: 


The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 

Johnson and all of his advisers knew that the Vietnamese died in massive numbers. 
Yet, no matter how many were killed, there were always survivors or new patriots ready 
to mount a defense of the fatherland against the American invaders. It was an old story in 
Vietnamese history. What was new was for the United States to wage the same kind of 
counterinsurgency warfare it had waged in the Philippines in the first years of the 
twentieth century. Ho Chi Minh and his fellow leaders in the North could draw upon 
international communism as a source of strength and vital support. The strongest support, 
however, was part of the script the Vietnamese used to approach the world. The 
Vietnamese had defeated invading armies for two thousand years. It may have taken 
enormous amounts of time and energy to do so, but over centuries, each of the invaders 
had withdrawn from the country. The French had believed that Indochina should be theirs 
forever. Rebellions of Vietnamese against them prior to the Second World War were 
insignificant. Suddenly, the occupation of Indochina by the Japanese triggered new 
momentum for resistance. It made the Vietnamese realize that the French were not 
superior and godlike as they would have the Vietnamese believe."^'"* 

In response to the French defeat in 1940, and then the Japanese defeat in 1945, the 
Vietnamese invoked spontaneous demands for independence from France. Since they had 
allowed themselves to be defeated by the Japanese, the French were no longer superior in 
Vietnamese eyes. Vietnamese nationalists saw that their time had come. It would not 
matter how much punishment both the French and Americans inflicted upon the 
Vietnamese population in the name of national security and the promotion of freedom 
and democracy. The Vietnamese script responded in historical fashion to the French, 
organizing the "clandestine resistance" that Douglas Pike cited in his famous government 
study of the guerrilla movement in Vietnam. During the French-Indochina War, 1946- 
1954, the Vietminh attacked the vastly better equipped French army with the intensity 
that popular resistance movements have marshaled throughout history. In no uncertain 
terms, the Vietnamese nationalist movement wanted to defeat the French at all costs, and 
so it did. The Vietnamese and French scripts in Indochina worked themselves out over 
eight years. Then, during the 1960s, the resistance inherent in the script for Vietnam met 
its counterpart in the script for the redeemer nation. Now the defeat of the French had 

Oxford University Press, 1999), 364-71; Joseph A. Califano Jr., The Triumph and Tragedy of 
Lyndon Johnson: The White House Years (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2000). 
For the Tet offensive of 1968 and its seminal importance, see Peter Braestrup, Big Story: How the 
American Press and Television Reported and Interpreted the Crisis of Tet 1968 in Vietnam and 
Washington, 2 vols. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1977), 465-529; Marc Jason Gilbert and 
William Head, eds., The Tet Offensive (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996). 

^ Mark Philip Bradley, Imagining Vietnam and America: The Making of Postcolonial 
Vietnam, 1919-1950 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 10-72. Vietnamese 
nationalism/radicalism does predate the Second World War; see Hue-Tam Ho Tai, Radicalism and 
the Origins of the Vietnamese Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992), 171- 
257; David G. Marr, Vietnamese Anti-colonialism, 1885-1925 (Berkeley: University of California 
Press, 1971); William J. Duiker, The Communist Road to Power in Vietnam (Boulder, CO: 
Westview Press, 1996), 5-93. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

been replaced by the defeat of the Americans. Despite the horrific firepower thrown 
against them, and the destruction of villages and towns, the Vietnamese communists won. 
Using the traditions of Vietnamese secret resistance with the organizational and 
ideological underpinnings of warfare that they gained from the socialist camp, the 
Vietcong and the North Vietnamese fought a shrewd international political war and 
combined it with an indomitable will to sustain military operations against a superior 



Each day and each week from the start of the escalation, the war played all around the 
world and in the living rooms of every American family who watched national television. 
It infuriated and, ultimately, radicalized enough students and professors at elite private 
and public colleges, and enough clergy and political leaders at all levels of government, 
that the war gained formidable political opposition by the late 1960s. So when the 
massive Tet offensive began in February 1968, the political objectives for the campaign 
were just as important as, or more so than, the military ones. When the offensive was 
over, and tens of thousands of Vietcong cadres lay dead, with the entire leadership in the 
South decimated in a failed military campaign, the political objectives had been won, 
boldly and decisively, not in Vietnam but in the United States. In March, Lyndon 
Johnson announced his retirement after the end of his term. He also ended the bombing of 
the North and requested peace negotiations to end the war. In the dramaturgy of the 
conflict, the first act was over, and Johnson, the victim or the villain, was now ready to 
sacrifice himself and fall on his sword in front of the audience.*" 

Technocratic imperatives worked with Lyndon Johnson and his advisers as the war 
escalated and then halted after Tet. The war's escalation was measured, as the literature 
suggests. Pentagon planners, who subscribed to cold, complex "military-political 
scenarios," designed the gradualism for which some military strategists blame the 
Johnson administration's defeat. Costs versus rewards, terms used by behavioral 
psychologists when they discussed the experimental variables for manipulating behavior, 
were applied by social scientists to the air and ground war against the Vietcong and the 
North Vietnamese. It may have been frustrating to Johnson to read the same dismally dry 
reports on the state of the war from the managerial perspective of the Pentagon or his 
National Security Council staff. Yet, quick unambiguous victory over the communists 
was an objective that could not be met except by the extraordinary ideas of certain 
military officers. 

^ ^Joseph Buttinger, Vietnam: A Dragon Embattled, 2 vols. (New York: Praeger, 1967); 
Douglas Pike, Viet Cong: The Organization and Techniques of the National Liberation Front of 
South Vietnam (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 1966), 1-56, 306-43; Robert K. Brigham, Guerrilla 
Diplomacy: The NLF's Foreign Relations and the Viet Nam War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University 
Press, 1999). 

' Braestrup, Big Story, 504-7; Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest, 652-58; Carol Fink, 
Philipp Gassert, and Detlef Junker, eds., 1968: The World Transformed (New York: Cambridge 
University Press, 1998), 33-109; Don Oberdorfer, Tet! The Turning Point in the Vietnam War 
(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), 238-327; Dallek, Flawed Giant, 502-30. 


The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 

Tet and Cambodia: The Denouement 

The 1968 Tet offensive began a cascade of events, domestic and international, tliat led 
the United States out of Vietnam with its armed forces in crisis and its political electorate 
angry and divided over international and national issues. Walter Cronkite's editorializing 
on the roof of the Saigon Hilton, as he watched the city's fires during the Tet combat, 
was one event that journalists and historians have viewed as a terminal act for the 
American war effort. If Walter Cronkite thought the war was senseless and not winnable, 
how then could middle America be asked to continue to support a conflict that risked the 
lives of its young men? Public opinion shifted immediately after Tet. Women, far more 
than men, had abandoned Lyndon Johnson. Now the whole country abandoned, or 
seemed to have abandoned, the South Vietnamese and the prospects for any satisfactory 
outcome to the war."^'' 

The final push for Johnson came with his "wise men's" meeting. The most 
distinguished elderly statesmen of American foreign policy. Dean Acheson, Robert 
Lovett, John McCloy, Omar Bradley, and others, refused to endorse Johnson's request to 
expand the war once again. The American commander, William Westmoreland, 
requested hundreds of thousands more troops, and military leaders in the United States 
saw no reason to abandon the country to the communists. Yet, the wise men refused this 
time to endorse Johnson's decisions. They saw the political and economic costs of the 
war and determined that the escalation had gone far enough. There was no purpose to it 
other than to jeopardize the American economy and the international prestige of the 
United States around the world.*'* 

In the midst of massive orchestrated military operations against an enemy that was 
ostensibly inferior in every possible respect, the decision to halt escalation was a puzzling 
one. How was it, with all this force, that the Vietnamese communists survived? Pentagon 
calculations showed that the North Vietnamese, based upon casualty rates, could carry on 
the war indefinitely, exhausting the United States and weakening its worldwide mission 
to contain communism's expansion. 


Nixon remains the quintessential tragicomic figure in twentieth-century American 
history. Although despised by a broad spectrum of critics from the left to the right, his 
undeniable accomplishments in foreign and domestic policy belie his end in the most 
serious political scandal of the century. In his script, Nixon rose to power, was defeated, 
then rose again, overcoming his political enemies and achieving global status and 
recognition as a statesman. Then his script carried him to the abyss. The age had 
damaged him. Like his predecessor Lyndon Johnson, the destruction of the sixties and the 

^ ^Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest, 661; Oberdorfer, Tet!, 296-308; Braestrup, Big 

Story, 489-502. 
^'^ Walter Is 
Harriman, Kennan, Lovett, McCloy (Boston: Faber and Faber, 1986), 698-706. 

^'^Walter Isaacson, The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made: Acheson, Bohlen, 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Vietnam War took a personal toll. He allowed his paranoia, innate to his personality, to 
bring on his self-immolation. In the Watergate crisis of 1972-1974, Nixon symbolically 
ended not only his political career but also the era of the sixties. Kennedy had opened the 
sixties, challenging the country to return to the ideals of its progressive tradition. Then 
the Kennedy crises and his death by an assassin's bullet were yet another turn in the 
national script. Johnson brought the Great Society and the Vietnam War, bringing the 
sixties, as the vessel of the revisionist period of the Cold War, to full realization. 
Johnson's denouement and the tragic deaths of the other heroic figures, Robert Kennedy 
and Martin Luther King Jr., established the gothic dimensions of America's crisis in 
1968. The year was a "crack in time." The counterculture and all the "movements," the 
antiwar movement and the violent African-American protest movement, were 
synchronous with a global crisis of order, from Paris to Prague, Mexico City, and Beijing. 
The youth rebellion against orthodoxy had reached high tide, from the Cultural 
Revolution in China to the student movements in Mexico, France, Prague, and the United 
States. American cities burned from race riots, while Mexican students were jailed and 
even executed. Soviet tanks crushed the Prague Spring, and Red Guards purged 
universities of "counterrevolutionaries." In American academic circles, entire literatures 
were being turned upside down by the new ideas of the left. Most of what happened in 
1968 continued and, in the case of academics, accelerated through the coming Nixon 
administration and the 1970s. The world was split open in 1968, the theater of politics 
poured out into the streets, and Richard Nixon, paragon of the conservative Republican 
establishment, won the White House, despite the third-party candidacy of George 

In political terms, the election of Richard Nixon in 1968 was the antidote to the moral 
crisis that gripped the redeemer nation. Lost in Vietnam, containment shaking under the 
political weight of the war, Nixon organized the middle and the right along the American 
political spectrum and proceeded to run the Vietnam War as a manageable crisis. His 
military strategy was decidedly Clausewitzian, as shown in the Christmas bombing of 
1972."" Yet, his overall strategy was, like that of all his predecessors and successors, a 

^ Reg Murphy, The Southern Strategy (New York: Scribner, 1971); Joe McGinniss, The 
Selling of the President (New York: Penguin Books, 1969); Herbert S. Parmet, Richard Nixon and 
His America (Boston: Little, Brown, 1990); Reeves, President Nixon; Gary Wills, Nixon Agonistes: 
The Crisis of the Self-Made Man, 434-517; Matthews, Kennedy and Nixon, 258-70; Stephen E. 
Ambrose, Nixon, 3 vols. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988-1991), 2:201-44. 

' Kissinger, White House Years, 1406-70; William Bundy, A Tangled Web: The Making of 
Foreign Policy in the Nixon Presidency (New York: Hill and Wang, 1998), 145-64, 361-63; 
William Shawcross, Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon, and the Destruction of Cambodia (New York: 
Simon & Schuster, 1979), 280-89; Jeffrey Kimball, Nixon's Vietnam War (Lawrence: University 
Press of Kansas, 1998), 258-63, 364-66; William Burr, ed.. The Kissinger Transcripts: The Top 
Secret Talks with Beijing and Moscow (New York: Norton, 1998); Gregory D. Cleva, Henry 
Kissinger and the American Approach to Foreign Policy (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University 
Press, 1989); Larry Berman, No Peace, No Honor: Nixon, Kissinger and Betrayal in Vietnam (New 


The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 

form of technocratic managerial internationalism. Nixon negotiated with North Vietnam. 
His secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, spent years trying to develop a diplomatic accord 
between the North and the South. As part of their global diplomatic strategy to end the 
intervention, Nixon and Kissinger invented detente. Boldly, they abandoned the orthodox 
script and sought to reach a new accommodation with the communist powers. Nixon 
went to China and then to the Soviet Union, once more defusing the Cold War like John 
F. Kennedy had begun to do. 

Nixon was a Cold Warrior but he was also president in the revisionist period. When 
he went to China in 1972 to dine with Mao Zedong and Chou En-lai, he reflected the 
revisionist notion that old enemies were not necessarily enemies, and that the orthodox 
view of the Cold War had perhaps run its course. In opening China to the West, the 
unconventional became conventional. Perceptions and misperceptions in international 
relations, as political decision-making theory of the period surmised, prevented 
international actors from ending hostile relationships. Errant U.S. and Soviet views on 
Berlin and Cuba had nearly brought the world to an apocalypse, and Johnson's decision 
on Vietnam had nearly ruined both Indochina and the United States as functioning 

In rapprochement with China, America the redeemer, through Nixon, the apostle of 
Cold War orthodoxy, made part of the Cold War mute. From its position as a deadly 
enemy of the free world, China was normalized. This happened even though in nearly 
every respect the Chinese of 1972 were no different than the communist Chinese of 
1965 — or 1949, for that matter. Committed to Marxism-Leninism, the Chinese viewed 
the United States as a capitalist country on the road to socialism that could be a very 
useful ally against China's principal enemy, the Soviet Union. America remained central 
to the world in American eyes. To Americans before Nixon's twin trips to China and the 
Soviet Union in the year of Watergate, 1972, America was the modern Zion. 
Simultaneously, to the Chinese and to the Soviets, the redeemer nation remained 
capitalist and hence an imperial power opposed to the socialist development that Marx 
and Lenin had promised. To the Chinese, China would always be the center, no matter 
how advanced or brilliant the West was in the last centuries of the millennium. To the 
Russians as well, Russia would always be the center of gravity — the divine country 
descended from the Slavs and the dynasties of the eastern Roman Empire. 

Of all American statesmen in the twentieth century, Henry Kissinger understood the 
historical scripts of major world actors more deeply than anyone. As a classic realist and 
student of nineteenth-century European diplomacy, he saw how the comparative cultural, 
political, and strategic frameworks that established the balance of power all fit together. 
Each country had a persona, a characteristic way of dealing with the external world that 
could be viewed as a recursive pattern over centuries if not millennia. The United States 
was impassioned by its Calvinist roots and its need to spread the word as well as power in 
all areas of the world. The Chinese, as Kissinger viewed them, had their own interests 

York: Free Press, 2001), 207-20: Raymond L. Garthojf, Detente and Confrontation: American- 
Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1994), 279-94. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

connected to their relations with East Asia and Russia over many centuries. The Chinese 
had historic rivalries with all of their neighbors, which transcended the ideological divide 
between socialist and liberal systems. The Russians, too, who met that same presidential 
election year with Nixon and participated in the first strategic arms limitation talks 
(SALT I), had long established strategic rivalries and alliances in Europe, the Middle 
East, and East Asia.^^' 

In the view of Kissinger and Nixon, both of whom in their foreign policy orientations 
approximated conservative political realists, the Russians and the Chinese could be used 
to isolate and punish North Vietnam. From 1969 until nearly the end of the American 
ground war, the North Vietnamese remained defiant against the Nixon administration. 
They refused serious negotiation with the South Vietnamese, forcing the United States to 
continue its destructive war that inflicted damage not only on the Vietnamese and the 
other peoples of the region, but on the health and integrity of American society. As the 
North Vietnamese stalled in their peace negotiations in the late 1960s and early 1970s, 
the antiwar movement in the United States continued to radicalize. Large-scale protests 
closed major American universities; Michigan, Columbia, Berkeley, and Wisconsin, 
hotbeds of political activism, sponsored radical forums that not only closed the campuses 
but fomented active resistance to U.S. government policies. Throughout the country, ever 
widening political activism — not only in relation to foreign policy, but also in relation to 
civil rights for blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians — threatened the viability of 
major American institutions. 

A major point of crisis was reached in the spring of 1970, when National Guard 
troops fired upon students at Kent State University, killing four of them. The students 
were taking part in nationwide demonstrations that expressed outrage at the incursion of 
American troops into Cambodia, threatening to widen the Vietnam conflict into the rain 
forests of yet another country. Nixon's response to the deaths was less than sympathetic. 
His antipathetic remarks served to strengthen world public opinion against him and his 
policy. The inability of an integrated technocratic strategy to win in Vietnam was 
reinforced by the political disasters connected to the antiwar movement, from the campus 
protests to the publication of the notorious Pentagon Papers.'" 

^'^^ Kissinger, White House Years, 226-313, 1049-1123, 1301-1475, and Years of Upheaval, 3- 
44, 302-74; Garthojf, Detente and Confrontation, 227-322; Thornton, The Nixon- Kissinger Years, 

^ DeBenedetti and Chatfield, An American Ordeal, 238-311; Anderson, The Movement and 
the Sixties, 350-52; Tom Wells, The War Within: America's Battle over Vietnam (Berkeley: 
University of California Press, 1994), 223^70; Richard Stacewicz, Winter Soldiers: An Oral 
History of the Vietnam Veterans against the War (New York: Prentice Hall International, 1997); 
Nancy Zaroulis, Who Spoke Up? American Protest against the War in Vietnam, 1963-1975 
(Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1984); Rhodri Jeffreys -Jones, Peace Now! American Society and 
the Ending of the Vietnam War (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999). 


The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 

In this context, at the higher level of statecraft, Nixon and Kissinger reoriented 
American foreign policy. Once more, the national script was modified to accommodate 
the dynamics of the Cold War. 

Post- Vietnam 

Once Kissinger had signed the Paris accords on behalf of the United States, the 
Vietnam War was over. It had gutted America's self-confidence and its worldwide image. 
The South Vietnamese were still considered allies. Contrary to some accounts, they were 
not abandoned by Nixon or Ford. Rather, when the North Vietnamese army attacked in 
the spring of 1975, American public opinion refused to respond. There was no public 
outcry for the defense of South Vietnam. After eight years of wrenching national crisis, 
the war could not be restarted under any foreseeable circumstances. Congress denied the 
two billion dollars in emergency aid that South Vietnam requested that spring. Despite its 
huge well-equipped army and air force, the Republic of Vietnam could not halt an 
invasion by a much smaller and less heavily armed North Vietnamese military force. 
With what looked like a predictable outcome, the communists attacked and threw back 
the republican forces. Though it defended its homeland, the ARVN dissolved under 

Vietnam "fell," or was "unified," depending upon one's point of view, in 1975. 
Cambodia and Laos fell to the communists almost simultaneously. In all three countries, 
hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees fled to the open seas or overland to 
Thailand. The anticommunist establishment gained some political weight from the 
refugee exodus. It confirmed the establishment's belief in the true nature of communist 
regimes, whether found in Europe or in the Third World. The evidence was more tragic 
with the gruesome genocide in Cambodia, which was evident as soon as the Khmer 
Rouge took over the capital, Phnom Penh. Newspaper and television reports of Nazi- 
scale atrocities triggered global fear. The voices in Congress and the American public 
that had so vociferously opposed intervention in Indochina fell silent. "^^^ 

In the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam War, the world had become far more 
disordered and anti-American. In addition to the smug remarks of European intellectuals, 
the Third World, from Asia and Africa to the Americas, brimmed with crisis. The Middle 
East confronted Israel and the West in the Yom Kippur war. Having control over all its 
oil resources for the first time, the Arab world leveraged its economic power by raising 
the price of oil 2,000 percent in seven years. For a brief decade, until oil prices declined 
in the early 1980s, money and power shifted to the Arab states. Once more, anti- 
imperialist rhetoric against the United States was heightened around the world. The 
Soviets, taking advantage of perceived U.S. weakness, sent Cuban troops into Africa. 
Within a few years, Cuban troops were present in all the former colonies of Portugal as 
well as in Ethiopia. Marxism appeared strong in Africa, both in sub-Saharan and Saharan 

^^^ Henry Kissinger, Years of Renewal (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999), 463-546: 
Sliawcross, Sideshow, 365-92: Kim Depaul, ed.. Children of Cambodia's Killing Fields: Memoirs 
of Survivors (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

regions. There were anti-American regimes in Libya, Uganda, Ediiopia, Somalia, Angola, 
Mozambique, and elsewhere. Afghanistan and Iran blew up at the end of the 1970s. The 
Shah fell in 1978, and the hostage crisis ensued soon after. In Afghanistan, the Soviets 
effectively ended the revisionist Cold War in 1980. The approach of the Soviet armies 
toward Pakistan and the entrance to the Persian Gulf was the last nail in the coffin for the 
view that the Soviets were benign. Analysts at the CIA viewed the Soviet attack as 
defensive, but the political ramifications were clear. ^^'' 

The revisionist Cold War remained but was in decline through the mid- and late 
1970s. A new world confronted the redeemer nation. No longer was American power 
beyond dispute. Vietnam had proven that clearly. The Arab oil embargo reinforced the 
idea. The massive Soviet effort to obtain nuclear parity, and the relative decline of the 
American economy vis-a-vis Europe and Japan confirmed the revisionist consensus that 
America was not really the nation of destiny. It had somehow found its way in a 
complicated world and now had to come to terms with the idea that the globe was not 
black and white and that American power was indeed finite. Americans did not have all 
the power or the answers; this was agreed to by conservative political realists such as 
Kissinger, as well as by the large communities of policy scientists who addressed the 
world's problems in terms of structural limits on growth and prosperity. There were 
limits, according to social, physical, and natural scientists, to the amount of energy that 
the world could produce for its use. There was limited supply of cropland, food, water, 
minerals, metals, and other raw materials that sustained industrial economic systems."' 

In a world of limits and relative decline, which was the prevailing view of the late 
1970s, the United States had to reconsider its global mission. The nation did not have to 
redefine its essential script, which remained the country's communication of its culture to 

Walter F. Hahn, Soviet Shadow over Africa fWai/jmgtow.' Center for Advanced International 
Studies, University of Miami, 1976); R. Craig Nation and Mark V. Kauppi, eds.. The Soviet Impact 
in Africa (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1984); Vernon Aspaturian, Alexander Dallin, and Jiri 
Valenta, The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan: Three Perspectives: Essays (Los Angeles: Center for 
International and Strategic Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles, 1980); Anthony Arnold, 
Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion in Perspective (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1985); 
Henry S. Bradsher, Afghan Communism and Soviet Intervention (New York: Oxford University 
Press, 1999), 75-95; Joseph J. Collins, The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan: A Study in the Use of 
Force in Soviet Foreign Policy (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1986), 77-164. 

^'^ Peter Moll, From Scarcity to Sustainability: Futures Studies and the Environment: The Role 
of the Club of Rome (New York: P. Lang, 1991); Fred Hirsch, Social Limits to Growth 
(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1976); Arthur S. Boughey, Strategy for Survival: An 
Exploration of the Limits to Further Population and Industrial Growth (Menlo Park, CA: W. A. 
Benjamin, 1976); Kenneth E. Boulding, Michael Kammen, and Seymour Martin Lipset, From 
Abundance to Scarcity: Implications for the American Tradition (Columbus: Ohio State University 
Press, 1978); Donella H. Meadows, The Limits to Growth: A Report for the Club of Rome's 
Project on the Predicament of Mankind (New York: Universe Books, 1972); Rufus E. Miles Jr., 
Awakening from the American Dream: The Social and Political Limits to Growth (New York: 
Universe Books, 1976). 


The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 

the world. Rather, it needed to consider the overall scheme for dealing with power and 
economics in the international system. It was in this context that James Earl Carter 
approached the presidency in the late 1970s, and the way he left it four years later. 

The Carter Presidency 

In most respects, Jimmy Carter was a failed president. He achieved diplomatic 
triumphs with the Camp David Accords of 1978 and the Panama Canal treaty of 1979, 
but his country's economy and the stability of the international environment appeared to 
collapse on him in the last year of his four-year term. Unprecedented inflation and the 
decline of American industry, combined with the Iranian hostage crisis and the Soviet 
invasion of Afghanistan, managed to turn him into a semitragic transitional figure. The 
basic systems of the liberal technocratic order and the liberal technocratic national 
security state maintained themselves, even in the face of war, instability, and the relative 
weakening of American power within the international system. Yet, the country had no 
tolerance for decline. The redeemer nation had to follow its path of world enlightenment, 
and the diminution of America's industrial, military, and scientific strengths militated 
against the national script for expansion and integration of the world system. 

Kennedy was the transitional figure from the orthodox to the revisionist period. Carter 
was the guide out of revisionism and into the last phase of the Cold War and the first 
phase of the post-Cold War era, the neo-orthodox. Carter inherited a world no longer 
observant of the preponderance of American power. Around the world, revolutionary 
forces armed in the rain forests, mountains, wastelands, and the urban ghettos of cities.. 
The technocratic ethos had run its course in the 1960s and 1970s. By the late 1970s, the 
apotheosis of man through technology was not apparent. On the contrary, the period was 
high tide for the antitechnocratic in global politics and policy planning. The technocratic 
paradigm that had armed a generation of postwar planners had done well until the early 
1970s. Then the mechanisms for sustaining economic development fell afoul of the 
OPEC cartel and the newly powerful ecological movement. The critiques of global 
capitalism had peaked in the late 1960s and early 1970s as well. However, by the time 
Carter took office, the combined legacies of Vietnam and the post-Vietnam morass in the 
Middle East and elsewhere left the progressive new American president at deep risk. His 
nation's economy was fragile, and so was his foreign policy. These two overarching 
problems worked together. Within just a few years, the combination of oil shock in the 
Middle East and the Iranian hostage crisis drove the quiet Georgian from office, an abject 

^ Robert A. Strong, Working in the World: Jimmy Carter and the Making of American Foreign 
Policy (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2000), 233-59: Robert A. Pastor, Not 
Condemned to Repetition: The United States and Nicaragua (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2002): 
William H. Gleysteen Jr., Massive Entanglement, Marginal Influence: Carter and Korea in Crisis 
(Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1999): Gerry Argyris Andrianopoulos, Kissinger and 
Brzezinski: The NSC and the Struggle for Control of U.S. National Security Policy (New York: St. 
Martin's Press, 1991), 100-21, 178-214: Gabriella Grasselli, British and American Responses to 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

Carter faced the world as an heir to the worldview of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin and 
Eleanor Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. He accepted the Cold War doctrine of 
containment, but his neo-Wilsonian principles pushed him to revive the progressive 
ideals of the globalization of human rights and democracy. He wanted to negotiate with 
the Soviets and end the arms race. In the Third World he wanted a new understanding of 
human rights to emanate from American foreign policy. Right-wing regimes supported 
by the United States for decades, openly and covertly, shamed Carter and the liberal wing 
of his political party. It was inconsistent with American values that the United States 
government was funding torture, political repression, and atrocities against civilian 
populations as part of its treaty obligations. Yet, in his four years in office. Carter found 
the world splitting away from the United States. Central America exploded into civil war, 
with right-wing death squads moving against communist insurgencies in Guatemala, El 
Salvador, and Nicaragua. In Africa, increasing numbers of Cuban and Soviet advisers and 
troops bolstered the nascent Marxist regimes spreading across the sub-Saharan region. In 
the Middle East, Islamic revolution turned Iran into a bulwark of violent anti- 
Americanism. In Afghanistan, covert actions by the Carter administration prompted the 
Soviet invasion of 1980."^^' The huge OPEC price increases pushed the American 
economy into a period of "stagflation," with rising unemployment, low growth, and high 
inflation. By the end of Carter's presidency, the international system and American 
foreign policy looked like they were in grave crisis. The ongoing expansion of Soviet 
nuclear weapons and the relative decline in American military readiness and technology 
presented Carter's critics with an easy argument for a failed presidency. 

The nature of Carter's failure ushered in a new turn of the script. The revisionist phase 
of the Cold War that had begun in earnest in the mid-1960s came to an abrupt end by the 
late 1970s. The worsening position of the United States, in terms of its national prestige 
and relative economic and strategic power in the international system, ended the 
dominant liberal discourse on the Cold War that had cracked open in the late 1960s, as 

the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan (Brookfield, VT: Dartmouth, 1996), 120-85; William B. 
Quandt, Camp David: Peacemaking and Politics (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1986); 
David Patrick Houghton, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Iran Hostage Crisis (New York: Cambridge 
University Press, 2001); Mark Joseph Gasiorowski, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Shah: Building a 
Client State in Iran (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991), 197-222; David W. Lesch, 1979: 
The Year That Shaped the Modern Middle East (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2001), 19-57; 
Brzezinski, Power and Principle, 318-98, 470-509. 

Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, in Le Nouvel Observateur (France), January 15-21, 
1998, p. 76. In reply to the interviewer's question if he regretted U.S. covert actions that induced 
Soviet intervention in 1979, Brezezinski replied: 

Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the 
Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially 
crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the 
USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable 
by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the 
Soviet empire. 


The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 

Johnson and then Nixon confronted the crises of Cold War orthodoxy. The revisionist 
framework, the revised script for the U.S. -Soviet rivalry, was toppled with the Iranian 
revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The nuclear and conventional force 
structures to contain the Soviet Union, and the general view of Soviet intentions vis-a-vis 
the Cold War, swept the neo-Wilsonian ideas of detente off the table. With the election of 
Ronald Reagan, and his coterie of conservative foreign policy zealots, orthodoxy was 
born again. 

The New Script: Technocratic Development in the Revisionist Cold 

There were two aspects to intellectual technology during the revisionist phase of the 
Cold War. In the social sciences and in the humanities, the impact of the sixties was 
transforming. The radical movement in academic culture literally redefined the study of 
history, much of the social sciences, and all of the humanistic disciplines. From the late 
1960s on toward the end of the Cold War and afterward, the center of gravity in most 
fields changed. The old "white male" academic course was critiqued from the 
perspectives of race and gender. The technocratic ethos that defined corporate American 
culture was also exposed in its academic guises of national security culture, business 
administration, and corporate law. The radical critique held in many fields, conquering 
anthropology, sociology, and literature. By the 1980s and 1990s, women's and ethnic 
studies programs were the norm on college campuses in the United States. The consensus 
culture was destroyed and a new polymorphic, but decidedly left, academic culture took 

1 528 

Its place. 

The revisionist Cold War began an intellectual revolution in American social science 
and humanities. During the revisionist phase, the radicalism of the antiwar movement of 
the sixties galvanized the radical rethinking of social knowledge, including the nature of 
the Cold War as a conflict. From the mid-1960s to the end of the 1970s, the academic 
script called for a standard rejection of the conventional and the orthodox. The measure 
of communist systems was no longer simply totalitarianism. Rather, communism was 

^ Sally L. Kitch, Higher Ground: From Utopianism to Realism in American Feminist Thought 
and Theory (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000); Miriam Schneir, ed., The Vintage Book 
of Feminism: The Essential Writings of the Contemporary Women's Movement (London: Vintage, 
1995); Patricia Ticineto Clough, Feminist Thought: Desire, Power, and Academic Discourse 
(Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1994); Stacey Young, Changing the Wor(l)d: Discourse, Politics, and 
the Feminist Movement (New York: Routledge, 1997); James A. Banks, Teaching Strategies for 
Ethnic Studies (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1975); George Yancy, ed.. Cornel West: A Critical 
Reader (Maiden, MA: Blackwell, 2001); Richard Delgado, ed.. Critical Race Theory: The Cutting 
Edge (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995); John McCormick, The Global Environmental 
Movement (New York: Wiley, 1995), 84-129; Robert J. Brulle, Agency, Democracy, and Nature: 
The U.S. Environmental Movement from a Critical Theory Perspective (Cambridge, MA: MIT 
Press, 2000); Lisa M. Benton and John Rennie Short, eds.. Environmental Discourse and Practice: 
A Reader (Maiden, MA: Blackwell, 2000). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

viewed as, distinctly, a political system connected to particular national cultures. There 
was no international communist movement, at least according to the revisionists. The 
Soviets were not entirely totalitarian, nor was there clear evidence that Stalin had ever 
wanted to dominate the world. Rather, the revisionists argued that the Soviets' behavior 
was defensive. Soviet studies were divided between traditional historians and political 
scientists who were not swayed by the new arguments, and newer scholars who saw the 
world in terms of the sixties' script. "^^' 

The same division between orthodox and revisionist Cold War scholarship emerged in 
area studies. The Latin Americanists now subscribed to dependency theory and world 
systems theory to explain underdevelopment in the Americas. The revisionist critique, 
almost coterminous with theories of imperialism, was ascendant in Middle Eastern and 
African studies as well. In Asian studies, the American presence in Southeast and 
Northeast Asia was readily viewed in terms of global corporate interests and the 
ethnocentric strategic realism of the foreign policy establishment. Naturally, democracy 
and the Wilsonian mission were viewed in revisionist terms as a chimera. There was little 
or no interest in democracy in American Cold War foreign policy, so the argument went. 
Woodrow Wilson himself only wanted "democracy" as a tool to prevent the triumph of 
genuine revolutionary forces that threatened world capitalism. 

Revisionist views of the Cold War understood the United States as an aggressive and 
mercenary presence in the world. The domination of powerful corporate interests resulted 
in a perversion of genuine liberal democratic sentiments that might exist in the redeemer 
nation. According to the revisionist ideology, the script for the redeemer nation called for 
the United States to expand doggedly and, if necessary, with utmost ruthlessness. The 
spread of democracy had nothing to do with the spread of American corporate institutions 
and culture, to the detriment of indigenous peoples and the aspirations of large working 
classes around the world. Having found sin in the redeemer nation, revisionists believed 
the solutions to those failures were somewhat obvious. In a Calvinist culture, as we have 
seen, the way of redemption is to do good works. According to the revisionist mindset, 
the tough, brutal, and insidious military infrastructure that laid waste to Indochina had to 
be reformed. The global defense machine, which was the Pentagon, would have to be 
dismantled. Large corporate giants, when not manufacturing weapons systems and 

The most prominent new Soviet scholars in the 1970s viewed the Soviet Union and its history 
as merely another industrializing society in the twentieth century, based on the ideological heritage 
of Russian authoritarianism and Marxism-Leninism. The implications for Cold War foreign policy 
were generally a rejection of the orthodox image of a dangerous Marxist state. See Jerry F. Hough, 
The Soviet Union and Social Science Theory (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1977) 
and How the Soviet Union Is Governed {Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979), along 
with his earlier monograph. The Soviet Prefects: The Local Party Organs in Industrial Decision- 
Making (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1969). See also Stephen F. Cohen, 
Sovieticus: American Perceptions and Soviet Realities (New York: Norton, 1986) and Rethinking 
the Soviet Experience: Politics and History since 1917 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985); 
Sheila Fitzpatrick, Education and Social Mobility in the Soviet Union, 1921-1934 (New York: 
Cambridge University Press, 1979). 


The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 

polluting the oceans and the skies, had to be nationalized or, in fact, reconstituted. The 
"greens," who gained influence in the 1990s, based their ideas on the writings of Noam 
Chomsky, Ralph Nader, Richard Falk, Kenneth Boulding, John Kenneth Galbraith, and 
Michael Harrington, among others. "^^'^ 

To be sure, the revisionist concept of the Cold War was not one camp or one view. 
Revisionist interpretations ran along a continuum. To a lesser degree, the orthodox view 
of the Cold War did the same. In both camps, the moderate interpretations gravitated 
toward the political reality of the dominant institutions in American politics. The New 
York Times, the Brookings Institution, and the liberal wing of Congress had their 
moderate revisionist interpretation of foreign policy and American society in general. 
From the radical perspective, these moderates were mere puppets of the regime. They had 
no true voice but to parrot and rationalize the Cold War orthodoxy of the technocratic 
elites. All of the issues that were contained in the radical left critique, in effect the very 
basis of the worldwide liberal order, were compromised by the compromisers. Could the 
New York Times, the epitome of the liberal establishment, ever see the world as the true 
believers did? From the radical point of view, which coincided nicely with the dominant 
view among left-wing intellectuals in Western Europe, the situation was hopeless indeed. 

It would be inaccurate, however, to view the revisionist period as the death of 
orthodox or conservative interpretations of the contemporary period. The orthodox 
culture had not died; it had merely become dormant. From the post-Vietnam era through 
the end of the century, capitalist and technocratic ideologies returned to currency on 
college campuses. Business and law schools churned out the professional elites that 
managed public and private sector institutions in the United States. The national security 
culture, chastened during the war, reasserted itself. By the early 1980s, the return of 
orthodoxy converted national security policy into a dynamic, cutting-edge field. At 
certain elite universities, the subject became a trendy major among a subgroup of political 
science students.'" 

^' See Richard Falk, This Endangered Planet: Prospects and Proposals for Human Survival 
(New York: Random House, 1971): Noam Chomsky, For Reasons of State (New York: Vintage 
Books, 1973); Ralph Nader, The Rape of the Powerless: A Symposium at the Atlanta University 
Center (New York: Gordon and Breach, 1971): Kenneth Boulding, A Primer on Social Dynamics: 
History as Dialectics and Development (New York: Free Press, 1970); John Kenneth Galbraith, 
Economics and the Public Purpose (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973); Michael Harrington, Decade 
of Decision: The Crisis of the American System (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1980). 

Thomas C. Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 
1960); Mervyn Frost, Towards a Normative Theory of International Relations (New York: 
Cambridge University Press, 1986); Gil Friedman and Harvey Starr, Agency, Structure, and 
International Politics: From Ontology to Empirical Enquiry (New York: Routledge, 1997); Steve 
Weber, Cooperation and Discord in U.S. -Soviet Arms Control (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University 
Press, 1991); Paul Weirich, Equilibrium and Rationality: Game Theory Revised by Decision Rules 
(New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998); Martin Shubik, A Game-Theoretic Approach to 
Political Economy, vol. 2 of Game Theory in the Social Sciences (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 
1984); Drew Fudenber and Jean Tirole, Game Theory (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991); 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

The physical science and engineering disciplines of the revisionist period did not 
succumb to the tidal wave of antiestablishment sentiment. In the mathematical and 
technocratic universe of physicists, chemists, engineers, and mathematicians, the left had 
far less impact either socially or epistemologically. In a sense, among most of these 
"hard" scientists, the political divisions of the revisionist period, and in fact, of the Cold 
War era in total, were of tangential interest. The innovations of the 1960s and 1970s were 
connected to the long-term research patterns of scientists working in a wide range of 
theoretical and applied fields. While the political universe debated Vietnam, Third World 
nationalism, and the state of race relations, gender, and class in the United States, 
physical scientists continued their work. They maintained the same schedule for their 
experiments and designs that showed clear continuity with their own work over decades 
and the work of their predecessors far back into the nineteenth century. Pondering the 
state of the physical universe, including the increasingly small quantum particles that 
were being studied in the huge atomic accelerators built for the purpose, these scientists 
were on an entirely different path than the humanists, the social scientists, and the 
activists who dominated academic culture. ^''^ 

The scientists and engineers, valued implicitly for their high IQs and the work they 
did on major technological achievements, worked deliberately, pondering the future of 
the human race and the nature of their disciplines. These brilliant thinkers, with ideas that 
would define the technocratic realm of the twenty-first century, published their 
preliminary works. Nanotechnology emerged during the revisionist era in the mind of 
Eric Drexler, a seminal theorist on the subject. In computer science, new generations of 
software were developed as each new wave of computer machines was deemed behind 
the times and replaced. Molecular electronics, molecular biology, and, indeed, most of 
the ideas that became known as high-tech in later decades, were born during the height of 
the Cold War, when angry political dialogue and Cold War international tensions rose 
repeatedly toward the breaking point.'" 

Reinhard Selten, Game Equilibrium Models, 4 vols. (New York: Springer, 1991); Richard A. 
Posner, Tort Law: Cases and Economic Analysis (Boston: Little, Brown, 1982); Richard A. Posner 
and Francesco Parisi, eds.. Law and Economics, 3 vols. (Lyme, NH: Elgar, 1997). 

"^Albert H. Teich, ed.. Scientists and Public Affairs (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1974); 
Thomas J. Kuehn and Alan L. Porter, eds.. Science, Technology, and National Policy (Ithaca, NY: 
Cornell University Press, 1981); Stephen Hilgartner, Science on Stage: Expert Advice as Public 
Drama (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000); Daniel S. Greenberg, The Politics of Pure 
Science (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999); Ralph E. Lapp, The New Priesthood: The 
Scientific Elite and the Uses of Power (New York: Harper & Row, 1965); U.S. House, The National 
Science Board: Science Policy and Management for the National Science Foundation, 1968-1980 
(Washington, DC: GPO, 1983); Alfred K. Mann, For Better or for Worse: The Marriage of Science 
and Government in the United States (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000); Graham and 
Diamond, The Rise of American Research Universities. 

^'^Eric Drexler, Engines of Creation (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press, 1986); Rietman, 
Molecular Engineering of Nanosystems; Roco and Bainbridge, Societal Implications of 


The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 

The New Culture 

The Vietnam War and the black civil rights movement peeled open American society 
like an onion. The wholesale challenge to institutional authority unleashed cultural forces 
beyond prediction. As a societal framework, orthodox Cold War culture collapsed in the 
1960s. The new authorities of the counterculture and the new intellectual movements of 
the New Left threw the old paradigms for social, cultural, and political norms off the 
throne. The traditional or "conventional" ways of Eisenhower's America had white shirts, 
dark ties, and short hair for men and long voluminous dresses for women. The 
conservative script for postwar corporate culture included segregated neighborhoods, 
cocktail bars for libertines, and Bible colleges for the devout. With the new script of 
Vietnam and Watts, the anti-Cold War, or counterscript, of the 1960s and 1970s 
transformed not only social norms but the entire intellectual framework for American 
and, ultimately. Western academic culture. "^^"' 

The destruction of the old script made modern feminism, as an intellectual, political, 
and cultural movement, possible. The tight, repressive, gendered world of the early Cold 
War and, indeed, of all historical periods prior to that, was dismantled in the intellectual 
space that radical thought acquired in American society during the late 1960s. The same 
space engendered an ecology movement that spread in all directions, manifesting not 
only a radical anticorporatist ideology, but also a renewal of the conservative progressive 
environmentalism advanced by Theodore Roosevelt in the late nineteenth century. The 
New Left found new space for gender, ecology, and class analysis of American society. It 
was a fragile space, opened in the wake of a horrific national trauma, but it was enough 
of an opening to produce an enduring legacy of radical thought, for both elite and mass 
consumption. The new culture challenged the very nature of the Cold War and the 
capitalist system that was connected to it. American discourse, for the first time in more 
than a generation, included a critical view of capitalism as an economic system that 
generated new wealth through sophisticated international means of exploitation. As 
American troops dug in under the forest canopies in the Vietnamese countryside, laying 
waste to villages, forests, and swampland, all in the defense of American containment 
objectives, the fabric of political, social, and cultural consensus unwound. The new 
narrative, angry and hopeless in the face of an insupportable war, mirrored the opposite 
of everything in the older culture. 

By 1980, the interlocking domestic and international crises that afflicted the last years 
of the Carter presidency showed the American paradigm at almost its nadir. The global 
system — economic, political, social, and strategic — appeared to have unraveled to a 

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology; /. Jortner and M. Ratner, eds., Molecular Electronics: A 
"Chemistry for the 2Ist Century" Monograph (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Science, 1997). 

^ Theodore Roszak, The Making of a Counter Culture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society 
and Its Youthful Opposition (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1969); Marcy Darnovsky, Barbara 
Epstein, and Richard Flacks, eds., Cultural Politics and Social Movements (Philadelphia: Temple 
University Press, 1995); Bloom, Long Time Gone. 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

degree never seen since the beginning of tlie Cold War. It was as if the United States had 
lost its leadership in all spheres, from manufacturing to capital development, to strategic 
weapons, to moral leadership in the West. By 1980 the culture had changed significantly 
from where it had been when Kennedy ushered in the "new frontier" in 1961. Youthful 
idealism had been replaced by fatigue and defeatism. No longer could Americans rely 
upon secure supplies of energy or the integrity and order of their large cities. The 
controlled culture of the early Cold War was gone. No longer did American society 
produce millions of school children in uniforms or conservative dress. No longer was 
America a country where almost all institutions, including marriage, religion, schools, the 
business system, and the government, were considered good and reliable.'^' 

Epistemologically, the 1960s and 1970s were extremely productive. The innovations 
in mathematics of the 1940s and 1950s, including information theory and game theory, 
were expanded in the age of space exploration and nuclear forces. Microelectronics, a 
result of the development of the semiconductor, began to transform the new fields of 
computer science and cybernetics. Mathematical knowledge and methods became the 
standards in economics and some fields of political science. The investments in 
intellectual technology by military institutions during the wars of the twentieth century 
bore fruit." ^ Vast new fields of quantitative- and nonquantitative-based knowledge 
developed and blossomed as a consequence of the large-scale institution building begun 
earlier in the century. A new generation of scholars contributed to the ever widening and 
dynamic expanse of technocratic as well as nontechnocratic thought. With the 
introduction of widespread data processing, the quantitative disciplines grew more 
quantitative. Complex algorithms were developed to describe psychological, economic, 
political, and social behaviors. The same trends occurred in the administrative sciences, 
in business, and in public policy, as well as in the physical and natural sciences. 
Ironically, even as a revolution commenced, in the entire realm of academia, that rejected 
the orthodox disciplines and their epistemologies, the technocratic construction of the 
world continued apace. The antitechnocratic theses of Marxists, feminists, and other 
humanist scholars and activists were both accepted and ignored. By the 1980s, gender 
studies would be incorporated into the academic curricula of major universities, but so 
would the large-scale positivistic approaches of quantifiers in political science, sociology, 
and other disciplines."' 

^^^ Anderson, The Movement and the Sixties, 355^23. 

^'^Tom Forester, ed.. The Microelectronics Revolution: The Complete Guide to the New 
Technology and Its Impact on Society (Oxford: Blackwell, 1980); Robert Irvine Smith and Bob 
Campbell, Information Technology Revolution (New York: Longman, 1981); Dirk Hanson, The 
New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution (Boston: Little, Brown, 
1982); Hans Queisser, The Conquest of the Microchip (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University 
Press, 1988). 

' ^ Susan Hardy Aiken, ed.. Changing Our Minds: Feminist Transformations of Knowledge 
(Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988); Bell Hooks, Feminist Theory from Margin to 
Center (Boston: South End Press, 1984); Susan Hardy, Feminism and Methodology: Social 
Science Issues (Indianapolis: University of Indiana Press, 1986); John H. Mueller, Karl F. 


The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 

The counterepistemologies of the 1960s were essential to the revisionist Cold War. In 
the wake of the anger that tore at the country, with universities and city blocks burning 
and the country full of millions of activists demanding change, the revolt of intellectuals 
came in earnest. It began slowly in the 1950s, as critical work was done challenging the 
"power elite," in C. Wright Mills's phrase, or the corporate state as understood by 
William Appelman Williams at Wisconsin. Stanley Elkins's attack on the proslavery 
literature of modern Southern historians began in the 1950s, and other thinkers from the 
academic left slowly began to make headway against the prevailing orthodoxy. Then the 
exiled Frankfurt school, including Herbert Marcuse, challenged the sanctimonious nature 
of postwar American society. One-Dimensional Man, a radical critique of Western 
civilization, appeared in 1964. From the mid-1960s, the flood of avant-garde literature 
became the dominant paradigm in the humanities. "^^* 

The radical thought of the "sixties" continued to develop in the seventies and eighties, 
as it became more the norm in academic circles, rather than the exception. The revisionist 
Cold War was at its apogee, when radical left scholars critiqued every aspect of 
American society, from Chomsky's attack on American imperialism, to the whole corpus 
of feminist writings that began in the late 1960s. In the age of Vietnam, with passions 
running high at the major college campuses, the American counterscript caused academic 
knowledge to produce a generation of Marxist and radical left scholars. Rejecting the 
progressive thesis in American history, Parsonian sociology, neo-Freudian psychology, 
Keynesian economics, and the modernization paradigm in all of the social sciences, 
radicals began to reconstruct all aspects of academic knowledge related to the United 
States, its history, and its social and political systems. New feminist scholars, who 
dissected the nature of the family and male patriarchy, challenged the foundations of 
American society, intellectually as well as culturally and socially."' The critique of 

Schuessler, and Herbert L. Costner, Statistical Reasoning in Sociology (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 
1970); Gordon Tullock, Toward a Mathematics of Politics (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan 
Press, 1967); Hayward R. Alker Jr., Mathematics and Politics (New York: Macmillan, 1965); 
William H. Riker and Peter C. Ordeshook, An Introduction to Positive Political Theory (Englewood 
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1973); Laurence D. Smith and William R. Woodward, eds., B. F. Skinner 
and Behaviorism in American Culture (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, 1996); 
Laurence D. Smith, Behaviorism and Logical Positivism: A Reassessment of the Alliance 
(Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1986); John A. Mills, Control: A History of Behavioral 
Psychology (New York: New York University Press, 1998). 

^' Stanley Elkins, Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life (Chicago: 
University of Chicago, 1959); William Appleman Willliams, The Roots of the Modern American 
Empire: A Study of the Growth and Shaping of Social Consciousness in a Marketplace Society 
(New York: Random House, 1969); Mills, The Power Elite; Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional 
Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society (Boston: Beacon Press, 1964). 

' Chomsky, American Power and the New Mandarins, 309-59, and At War with Asia (New 
York: Pantheon Books, 1970); Sandy Vogelgesang, The Long Dark Night of the Soul: The 
American Intellectual Left and the Vietnam War (New York: Harper & Row, 1974); Robert R. 
Tomes, Apocalypse Then: American Intellectuals and the Vietnam War, 1954-1975 (New York: 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

corporate capitalism, which had a long tradition in American political thought, was 
expanded by the neo-Marxist ideas imported from European and Latin American 
universities. What became known as the "world systems" approach to world history was 
adopted from France's postwar Marxists, who mixed phenomenology with historical 
materialism.^""^ Critical anthropological and sociological approaches juxtaposed Western 
technocratic capitalism with Third World cultures that showed evidence of gross damage 
and destruction by Western acculturation. The encounter with the West, viewed as 
positive by American scholars prior to the 1960s, came to be seen more as an invitation 
to cultural loss and degradation. In both American inner cities and in remote villages on 
other continents, anthropologists documented the despair of American life. Sociologists 
wrote about the damage that the Cold War and modern life had inflicted on American 
culture. America was "at the breaking point," at least according to one California 
sociologist in 1970.*'" A huge and complex society found itself past mid-century in a duel 
with Southeast Asian peasants and their far more powerful allies. Yet, presidents did not 
want to fight wars. Nor could they suppress the rebellions in American cities, on college 
campuses, and by the sophisticated rhetoric and activism of professional leftists who 
challenged America on every ground. 

The maxim of the period delegitimated every aspect of contemporary American 
society. Ultimately, the dethronement of social and political order resulted in a truly 
relativist world. There was nothing sacred in the revisionist Cold War. There were no real 
unblemished heroes, only antiheroes of a sort. Cinematic criticism from the period 
extolled the likes of Dustin Hoffman, who played mildly antiestablishment roles in such 
films as Little Big Man and The Graduate, and Robert Redford and Paul Newman, the 
antiheroes in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Hoffman and others were a fitting 
transition from the epitome of heroic American manhood portrayed by John Wayne and 
Charleston Heston, among others. Other films, notably Easy Rider; Midnight Cowboy; 
Paris, Texas; and Carnal Knowledge, redefined cinema for the sixties revolution and the 
revisionist Cold War."' The literature on the subject is clear. The cultural ramifications 

New York University Press, 1998); Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Patriarchy (New Yoric: Oxford 
University Press, 1986); Carol C. Gould and Marx W. Wartofsky, eds.. Women and Philosophy: 
Toward a Theory of Liberation (New York: Putnam, 1976). 

^'^^Immanuel Wallerstein, ed., World Inequality: Origins and Perspectives on the World System 
(Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1975) and The Modern World-System,- Alan Megill, Prophets of 
Extremity: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida (Berkeley: University of California Press, 
1985); James Miller, The Passion of Michel Foucault (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 
2000); Pamela Major-Poetzl, Michel Foucault' s Archaeology of Western Culture: Toward a New 
Science of History (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1983). 

'^ Slater, The Pursuit of Loneliness, 29-52. 

Stephen Powers, David J. Rothman, and Stanley Rothman, Hollywood's America: Social and 
Political Themes in Motion Pictures (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996); Norman K. Denzin, 
Images of Postmodern Society: Social Theory and Contemporary Cinema (London: Sage, 1991); 
William J. Palmer, The Films of the Seventies: A Social History (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 


The Turn of the Script: Vietnam and the Anti-Cold War 

of the Vietnam War transformed popular and bohemian culture and forced the society to 
reexamine itself. In the long run, what began in the sixties as a cultural revolt against the 
antiseptic, conformist age of the fifties gradually became a thorough undermining of 
social norms. The movies that shocked in the sixties did not shock in the seventies. Then, 
in the eighties and the nineties, another generation, whose frame of reference began with 
the sixties, went beyond the early counterculture in the use of sex and violence. The 
anomie of the Vietnam era became the foundation for increasing levels of anomic 
relativism that ideological conservatives would attribute all social evils to. From the 
cultural space that came out of the sixties, the variegated late-twentieth-century cultural 
ethos of the West emerged. 

The postmodern cultural ethos, engendered by the revisionist age, had a similar or 
complementary impact on progressive politics. In the wake of the revolution, the world 
needed to understand the nature of the new environmental movement. Seemingly 
overnight, the ecological movement in American society was founded. It worked with a 
desperate air to save the earth from human beings and their destruction. As mass antiwar 
protests mounted in Washington, D.C., and college campuses everywhere, the 
institutional legitimacy of everything was open to challenge. The questioning included 
everything from the nature of the American family to that of sexuality, American 
nationality, and the ownership of industry. When the brutality of the Vietnam War 
entered the intimacy of the American family's living room, the consequences became 
extreme. The technocratic script for the ordered, scientific apotheosis of American 
civilization in the ensuing decades and centuries was replaced by thicker, more complex 
and tragic versions of the future. Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange intimated one 
version of the near future in which the police state and technology would rule. Over 
ensuing decades, Kubrick's vision was to be replicated many times — its futuristic 
brutality and sinister representation of human nature became the new Hobbesian 
paradigm for Anglo-American culture. ''*'' 

Toward the Reagan Revolution 

The instability experienced in the age of the revisionist Cold War, and its intimation 
of American decline, eventually led to its counterscript. Ronald Reagan, who was viewed 
in toto by all revisionists, political and cultural, with scorn and condescension, rose 
during the revisionist Cold War to first the statehouse in California and later the 
presidency. In the revisionist script, Reagan was an irritant. He was a crude reactionary 
who hoped for a return to the outmoded world of the mid-twentieth century. In the 1970s, 
the orthodox Cold Warrior, resolute in his anticommunism and his devotion to corporate 
capitalism and to the privileges of conservative elites around the world, began to organize 

1987); Peter Lev, American Films of the '70s: Conflicting Visions (Austin: University of Texas 
Press, 2000). 

^*^Mario Falsetto, ed.. Perspectives on Stanley Kubrick (New York: G. K. Hall, 1996); Luis M. 
Garcia Mainer, Narrative and Stylistic Patterns in the Films of Stanley Kubrick (Rochester, NY: 
Camden House, 1999). 


Redeemer Nation 

America and the World in the Technocratic Age 

1914 to the Present 

the political right once again. He aspired to overthrow the liberal internationalist creed of 
both the Democrats and the centrist wing of the Republicans. Yet, before he could 
accomplish what he wanted, he needed the revisionist script to run its course. 

Antecedents: American Decline 

During the 1970s, it was easy to see America as in a state of decline. The prism for 
American power showed clearly that the country's fortunes had moved downward instead 
of upward. No longer, in the wake of American defeat in Vietnam, was the American 
military invincible. Rather, what observers saw in the 1970s was a series of political 
setbacks for the American superpower. The fall of Vietnam was coterminous with the 
Arab oil embargo and the Watergate crisis. In the mid-1970s, Soviet regimes took power 
in the former Portuguese possessions in Africa, as well as in Somalia and Ethiopia. In the 
Middle East, Soviet power included client states in Syria and Iraq, and at the end of the 
decade, an Afghan regime allied with the Soviets seized power in Kabul. Finally, the 
Iranian hostage crisis, which engulfed the country through the first year of the 1980s, 
demonstrated the impotence of a superpower in the face of anger and terrorism. 

In Vietnam, of course, the deadly application of military force eventually brought the 
North Vietnamese to concede at the Paris peace table, but in the end, American 
stipulations to ensure the survival of South Vietnam were dismissed. After the trauma of 
Watergate shamed the country and decreased the strength of the presidency as an 
institution, the North Vietnamese army rolled south into Saigon in the spring of 1975. 
There was nothing for the redeemer nation to do now, after hundreds of thousands of 
American and millions of Vietnamese casualties. The final loss of Vietnam and the 
destruction of Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge were more salt in the national wound. The 
spectacle of hundreds of thousands of refugees, desperate for escape, pouring out of 
Indochina vindicated the conservatives who had supported the war for a decade. The 
imposition of an orthodox Soviet-style regime in South Vietnam and the genocidal 
madness of Cambodia contributed to end the revisionist Cold War.''*"' The left in 
American politics, for a while in the early 1970s, argued that communism in Southeast 
Asia might not be "a bad thing." It was believed, albeit naively, that the differences 
between corrupt right-wing government and socia